drainage

Jessica Rosgaard / WWNO

Rainstorms seem to be getting more intense. In New Orleans, every time it rains, people worry about flooding. A new study from LSU finds that storms in Louisiana are getting bigger and wetter, dropping more rain over a shorter period of time.

WWNO’s Tegan Wendland talked with state climatologist Barry Keim and LSU research associate, Vinny Brown, who looked at climate data going back to the 1960’s.

Travis Lux / WWNO

After a couple years of billing issues, the Sewerage and Water Board (SWB) said last fall that citizens owed the utility about $23 million dollars. Now, it turns out that number is even higher.

At a city council committee meeting on Tuesday, council member Joe Giarrusso revealed that the number is currently closer to $130 million.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Much of greater New Orleans has been naturally sinking for generations. But scientists don’t know a lot about why, where, or how fast it’s happening. So now, they’re looking below the streets for clues -- at the layers of dirt, sand, and mud. The city hopes it’ll help us prepare for the future.

Travis Lux / WWNO

 

New Orleans is a city that floods. Even a small storm can leave streets impassable. City officials say they’re working on solutions, but they’re also asking citizens to help out.

All this week we’ve aired stories about how prepared the city is for the threats that climate change will bring — heavier rains, bigger storms, extreme temperatures — and there are some serious doubts. That’s why some people are taking matters into their own hands.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Major floods last summer thrust infrastructure and drainage issues into the limelight. And new Mayor LaToya Cantrell has made them a top priority for her administration. She has championed the approach to water management outlined in the city's Urban Water Plan — which emphasizes “green infrastructure” solutions like soaking up rain water instead of pumping it out. But that plan is largely unfunded.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The city’s ability to pump water has been diminished once more after a Sewerage and Water Board power generator caught fire Wednesday night.

 

The new outage affects the East Bank of New Orleans — all areas west of the Industrial Canal. That includes neighborhoods like Lakeview, Mid City and Treme, which had already seen the worst of the city’s flooding this weekend.

Professor John Renne of UNO Planning and Urban Studies has more on the Front Yard Initiative, a pilot program to help homeowners turn concrete into green space. The idea, he says, has social, environmental and property value impact.

Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

In January the New Orleans City Council will resume hearings on a new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. It’s been 40 years since the city was this close to revamping regulations on how things get built.

As part of the CZO, a group of city officials, engineers and landscape architects are pushing for a greener design for New Orleans. One that will help the city better manage its localized flooding.

Jesse Hardman

WWNO’s Coastal Desk has been on tour, looking at water management in other cities. Austin and Philadelphia were the first stops. Now we’ll hear about the final city: Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

A delegation of New Orleans city officials and non-profit leaders recently headed to Wisconsin. They learned how Milwaukee, built as an industrial hub, has become one of the greenest big cities in the country.

Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

In September, a delegation of local officials traveled to Austin to learn how they manage their water. New Orleans is preparing to adopt a new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance which, if passed, will include the city’s first ever stormwater management plan.

Earlier this month, members of that same delegation visited Philadelphia for another take on urban water management and green infrastructure.

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