Water Management: Looking towards the future

Jul 29th, 2013 | By | Category: News
Parish resident Tammy Pittman reads up on how the Dutch manage their water. The Netherlands and southeast Louisiana share the common geography of being under sea level.

Parish resident Tammy Pittman reads up on how the
Dutch manage their water. The Netherlands and
southeast Louisiana share the common geography
of being under sea level.

On July 18, GNO Inc. sponsored a water management presentation by Waggonner and Ball architects at Nunez Community College. The information was not exactly brand-new, but instead were parts of studies completed post-Katrina.

It was presented as a mutual effort between the New Orleans Sewerage and Water board and St. Bernard water managers. The logic is, we share the Bayou Bienvenue/Central wetlands system without a physical divider, like a levee or flood wall.

General Information on drainage, soil subsidence, aesthetics, and economic development were discussed. Much of the information about flood protection in storm surges was not new to the attendants. The effects of soil subsidence and rainfall retention were most interesting and not so well known by the public. Much reference was made to the Dutch, but one must realize the Netherlands has a 15-to-1 ratio of inhabitants to landmass in comparison to Louisiana, that affords Holland a greater value to water management.

Overall the presentation by David Waggonner had futuristic value that we must address— land subsidence and ground water table management.

The Italians realize that in order to keep the leaning Tower of Pisa standing upright, they must maintain ground water levels, keeping the soil moisture consistent. I do have a few observations about the evening: first there were enough consultants and experts (suits) in the room to restart LSU and the state
capital. Noticeably missing were the residents and tax payers from St. Bernard.

GNO Inc. possibly forgot that in inviting the New Orleans Sewerage and Water board was fine, but the St. Bernard attendants did not need to sit through the New Orleans PR spokesman pitching a rate hike in the city of New Orleans or New Orleans’ other problems. Those issues facing New Orleans may be why I have made the decision to call St. Bernard home and where I want to invest.

St. Bernard has fought a long, tough battle to recover from Katrina and is still faced with many economic challenges. So, I say to anyone with suggestions of what we need to do in the parish: Bring the money with you to pay for those ideas.

Fundamental needs are essential to meet infrastructure like storm protection and levees, good streets, safe neighborhoods, and some of the best education in the state are what we need to continue. The new flood protection wall, built by the federal government, is a big financial challenge that the parish will have to face.

The hard-working people of St. Bernard have essentially built the foundation of a good cake and one day we can ice it and place candles on it to celebrate the victory of recovery. But until that time, we must continue our consistent path to the future with the resources we can afford.

I do want to thank David Waggonner for his continual vision for our parish and his persistence in helping us build our future successfully.

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