The recent, multi-day closure of Sawgrass Mills Mall because of sudden, extreme flooding in its parking lot provides a perfect glimpse into how short-sighted development in natural areas increases the risk and severity of flooding. It threatens the drinking water supply and hurts the economy. In South Florida, the environment is our economy. And when we’re finally out of water, short-term profit-making will be the least of our worries.
Plans to extend the Dolphin Expressway past the Urban Development Boundary (UDB) is a terrible idea. Not only will this increase traffic (studies corroborate this), it will intensify flooding and speed saltwater intrusion into our only water source — the Biscayne Aquifer.
A principal reason for the UDB is to maintain this crucial aquifer recharge. Development on these lands will prevent the recharge process and only worsen the current saltwater intrusion problem caused by sea-level rise and exacerbated by increased development and water extraction.
The loss of drinking water in the region will be one of the primary triggers that will render the region unlivable. It’s not a question of if, but when. Let’s not speed up the process.
Gregory Hamra, Coral Gables