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Water: Climate Change and Water

Caribbean Islands Climate Change and Water

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea and are of volcanic origin.

The sensitive coastal ecosystems and critical infrastructure of the Caribbean Islands are threatened by sea level rise, tropical storms, and flooding from heavy rain. Coral reefs are under stress from warmer temperatures and ocean acidification, and water supplies are vulnerable to both drought and saline contamination of aquifers. For more information about the overall impacts of climate change in the Caribbean Islands, in addition to water impacts, visit EPA's main climate change website.

Highlights of EPA and Partner Activities

The Climate Change in the Caribbean 2011: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Island Conference Exit EPA Disclaimer was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico in November 2011. Climate change experts discussed impacts and projections for the Caribbean, strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, steps that can be taken in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to increase resilience in the face of a changing climate, and partnerships between federal and local efforts in the Caribbean.

Photo of the coastline in Puerto Rico

Photo credit: NOAA

The Puerto Rico Coastal Zone Management Program is a partnership between the Puerto Rico Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales, EPA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Institute of Tropical Forestry, and other stakeholder groups to understand the vulnerability of coastal wetlands and their migration potential and are striving to protect the most at-risk areas.

Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing Systems Exit EPA Disclaimer is partnering with EPA and other federal and commonwealth agencies to disseminate information and provide outreach to managers of Puerto Rico's water infrastructure.

The Pacific Islands Climate Science Center Exit EPA Disclaimer and the Pacific Regional Integrated Science and Assessment Exit EPA Disclaimer provide scientific information, tools, and techniques for anticipating, monitoring, and adapting to climate change.

Climate and Water Strategy
Our Goals:

Photo of the water surface

EPA programs in the Caribbean islands region will work with partners to understand the vulnerability of coastal wetlands, coastal communities, and water-related infrastructure to multiple stressors and climate change. Through better understanding, EPA tries to protect the most threatened areas and increase their resilience to extreme storm events.

To learn more about the goals and strategic actions at the regional level, read the EPA water program’s 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change.

EPA Regions in the Caribbean Islands

EPA Region 2 – including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
See the Region 2 climate change website.

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