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Water Institute To Team Up With Dutch Counterpart

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (CC BY 2.0)
The mouth of the Mississippi River.

Louisiana isn’t the only place in the world trying to fight back the ocean. Much of the Netherlands is below sea level, and the Dutch are well-known for their water management expertise.


State officials in Louisiana are signing a formal agreement to tap into that knowledge.


The agreement, a memorandum of understanding, is between two water research organizations: Deltares, based in the Netherlands, and the Water Institute of the Gulf, which is based in Baton Rouge. The Water Institute works with the state on the Coastal Master Plan.


Governor John Bel Edwards says the goal is two-fold. First, to bring more water scientists to Louisiana to research land loss and flooding.


And second, to make Louisiana a new, international hub for water research -- and to make that expertise an "exportable commodity."


"All around the country and around the world," he says, "people will start to look to Louisiana the way the world currently looks to the Netherlands.”


Edwards wants experts to look to Louisiana for that know-how. From ecologists and engineers who know about levee construction, to programmers who build computer models of rivers and marshes.


Edwards thinks if that happens, the state could create as many as 45,000 direct and indirect water management jobs in the region.

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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