Water, Water Everywhere: How Do We Live With It?

What promises to be a compelling, thought-provoking series on how New Orleans and other urban areas are challenged to deal with storm water kicks off tomorrow. The Greater New Orleans Foundation has organized the 5 part Urban Water Series to pull together the best ideas and biggest thinkers in the efforts of cities to wrestle effectively with managing storm water, more intense rain events, sinking streets, the aging infrastructure bomb, and other factors. The Advocate published a great write-up and interview with GNOF’s Marco Cocito-Monoc, who has helmed the creation and programming for the series, in which he says:Water management is not just the responsibility of city entities, he said. “It’s the responsibility of everyone living in a city shaped like a bowl and located below sea level.” While much of New Orleans continues to consider water primarily from the perspective of holding back storm surge associated with hurricanes (and clearly, that’s important), far less public awareness has been focused on the threats posed by flooding from intense rain events. We firmly believe that water management for New Orleans, fits clearly in any thoughtful application of a Coastal Lines of Defense approach to protecting the public and our environment.By planning for how our city in a bowl can slow, filter, and hold more water before pumping it over our levees and into Lake Pontchartrain, we can ideally mazimize our future resilience by addressing water pollution, subsidence, flood risk and spend our remaining FEMA hazard mitigation dollars in a way that best leverages those resources.Tomorrow’s program features two friends of GRN, and a couple of our city’s most creative advocates for a water-friendly future, Mark Davis of the Tulane Institute for Water Resources Law and Policy, and Jeff Thomas of Thomas Strategies. Future workshops will include the architect who urged New Orleans to think more creatively on these issues post Katrina through his Dutch Dialogues work, David Waggoner.GRN is heading up our Flood Less New Orleans campaign to urge action on these very issues from public, private and individual efforts, so we will be in attendance for the series, and we hope you can make it out as well. Register today to get a spot.Aaron Viles is GRN’s Deputy Director. You can follow him on twitter here. A $25,000 grant was received from the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Environmental Fund to support GRN’s Flood Less New Orleans campaign.

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