Imperial Beach is surrounded by water on three sides: the Pacific Ocean to the west, the bay to the north and the Tijuana River to the south.
That means it’s always endured storm surges and cross-border pollution, but the city is now coming to terms with another environmental reality: rising sea levels that could eventually impact 30 percent of the city’s properties, 40 percent of its roads, an elementary school and more.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts sea levels could rise up to six and a half feet by 2100, a projection that would be dire for Imperial Beach. Erosion, flooding, wetland inundation and storms would all increase in frequency and intensity.
The city’s mayor, Serge Dedina, looked at El Niño this year as practice. High tides advanced on Imperial Beach homes and businesses, flooding coastal roads. The city lost 12 feet of sand, valued at more than $3 million, Dedina said.