Flooded streets after downpours is just another case for the "It's New Orleans" file. Same with sinking house foundations, a somewhat-wrecked infrastructure, disappearing land, and water-damaged roads. So it's hard not to attach some hope to the recently announced Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, which has been years in the making. Instead of focusing on pumping water out of the city every time it rains, the Living With Water plan looks at ways to, well, live alongside it and view it as an asset. Currently, rain water is removed from the city by pumps which can only drain an inch of water per hour and then half an inch every half hour after that. Hence, flooded streets and standing water on a pretty regular basis in many parts of town.
In a nutshell, the $6.2 billion plan calls for transforming dry canals, some public spaces and neutral grounds (those are medians, non-New Orleanians) into eye-pleasing water storage areas. It also suggests floating sidewalks, water gardens, the prevention of sinking land, and different ways for residents to view living with water. And of course this can't go without mentioning – houses near water means increased home value. The plan is pretty complex, as is to be expected with something that's concerned with how to manage water in a swampland, but you can check out all 200 pages of one of the reports here. Led by local architecture firm Waggonner & Ball along with Greater New Orleans, Inc. and a slew of Dutch and local water pros, the plan isn't funded yet, so that's obviously the biggest obstacle right now. If this does happen, though, about $22B in economic benefits would be expected to flow in.
· Could Dutch-Inspired designs answer storm water issues? [Curbed NOLA]
· Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan report [official site]
· Waggonner & Ball [official site]