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NOLA Awarded $141 Million for 'Resiliency District'

Ambitious infrastructure proposal is the largest flood control project in New Orleans since a network of pumps and drainage canals was first proposed in the 1830s.

January 27, 2016

Metarie Pumping Station, also known as Pumping Station 6, was constructed in 1899 and houses 15 wood screw pumps, moves over 6 billion gallons of water a day.

The idea is to try to acclimate NOLA citizens to live with the water, instead of using pumps and floodwalls to deter it. Based on the city's grant application, the most money will be spent on transforming miles of neutral grounds into water features meant to reduce flood risks and allow for the absorption of groundwater -- rather than pumping it to outfall canals.

Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant, who oversees the Sewerage and Water Board and all city construction, said community education is needed for the resiliency strategy to work because most of its projects go against what has become conventional thinking in New Orleans.

"We've spent all this time, all these years pumping the water out," Grant said. "This is really changing everything we've done."

The $141 million award New Orleans flood control project comes from the Natural Disaster Resiliency Competition. The money comes from a $1 billion pool of unused Hurricane Sandy recovery funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.    

In true New Orleans style, the new flood mitigation projects are sprinkled with nouveau-hip design ideas including blue corridors, floodable areas, permeable sidewalks, and retention gardens.

Jeff Hebert, executive director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, is now the city's Chief Resilience Officer thanks to a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Read more on the Big Easy's plans here:

Source: Greg LaRose, / The Times-Picayune

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