Happening this November, WATERFRONT is a month-long exploration of water in our region with the members of the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans. Now in its third year, WATERFRONT offers something for everyone:
- learn more about environmental science at lectures and workshops;
- celebrate our waterways through art and food; or
- be part of the solution at tree plantings and clean ups.
This year’s WATERFRONT series features a variety of events across the Greater New Orleans area. Some are free and some charge a fee, but there is sure to be something for everyone! Check out the events here to see more information about each event and register/rsvp as needed!
Updated Oct. 23, 2017
This fall, residents of New Orleans and parts of Jefferson Parish will go to the polls to elect new local leaders. In an effort to educate candidates and constituents alike, the Water Collaborative has developed a series of fact sheets about water management issues. As localized flooding has recently reminded us: safe, sustainable water management is a core service of local government in Southeast Louisiana. It’s vital that both residents and candidates understand the fundamentals of water management.
Week 1: Understanding Flood Risk
We’ll be releasing one fact sheet per week. The first one deals with Flooding and Subsidence Take a look and share with your neighbors.
Week 2: New Orleans Drainage System 101
This week’s fact sheet serves as a primer on the Fundamentals of Water Management in New Orleans. Our unique topography and built environment necessitate a drainage system unlike most in the world. Every voter and elected official should have a basic grasp of how the system functions.
Week 3: Getting to Know Green Infrastructure
The third installment in our series introduces the concept of Green Infrastructure, which serves to complement conventional drainage and slow certain types of subsidence by allowing more water to enter the soil.
Week 4: More Equitable Water Management
What does it mean to have an equitable water system? This fact sheet on Equity in Urban Water Management looks at disparities in how water services and flood risk affect New Orleans and some of the things we can do about it.
Week 5: How Water Utilities Work
This fact sheet dives into the complex topic of how local water utilities are governed, with a focus on past and proposed changes to the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. Understanding Local Water System Finance and Governance is a must before proposing to restructure the board.
Week 6: What Are Water Jobs
The terms water economy and water sector refer to a range of skills and professions involved in water management: everything from operating pump stations to designing rain gardens to replanting wetlands. This fact sheet on Economic Opportunities in Water Management examines how major investments in place-based water projects can be leveraged to create local jobs.
In late July, the New Orleans City Council held public meetings on proposed amendments to the city’s Master Plan, which guides land-use and infrastructure policy across Orleans parish. A great deal of public input focused on quality of life and housing affordability. While there was hot debate about the right places for live music and taller buildings, there was widespread understanding that effective stormwater management is in everyone’s best interest. Localized flooding is a threat to a variety of neighborhoods. Conversely, well planned waterfronts and parks are valued amenities that provide both water management and recreation.
A map created to inform Master Plan amendments
Last year, members of the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans put together a comprehensive set of amendments to help bring the city’s post-Katrina plan up to date. These amendments reflected the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, Resilient New Orleans strategy and changing attitudes about managing stormwater with green as well as gray infrastructure. The wide ranging nature of the amendments — from communicating about residual flood risk to protecting heritage trees — reflects the diversity of expertise within the Water Collaborative.
At the heart of our proposals were a call for major investments in green infrastructure along streets and neutral grounds and a charge to develop long-range, equitable funding strategies for drainage and green infrastructure. The passage of these amendments with unanimous support from City Council is a major policy victory for three-year-old Water Collaborative. It is, however, merely a first step. The next mayor and council will be charged with implementing the plan alongside agencies, the City Planning Commission and Sewerage and Water Board. We will continue to advocate, educate and partner with the public and private sector to make the city safer and more sustainable.
Designers in New Orleans have learned much from our Dutch friends about safe, sustainable water management. As we move beyond planning to implementation, that co-learning continues but the focus has grown to include civic engagement and citizen involvement. In that spirit, the Water Collaborative partnered with 1% Club to pilot civic crowdfunding in Greater New Orleans.
With lots of help from GNOF and our members, we are poised to unveil a tool to match resources and knowledge with the nonprofits and neighborhoods working to make our region better, safer and stronger. It’s called NOLA Connects. You can learn all about it on Thursday, June 29, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Wayward Owl Brewing Co. RSVP here.
When NOLA Connects launches, donors and volunteers will have the opportunity to support a broad range of projects: tree planting in Algiers, music education in Treme, stormwater retrofits for an Uptown elementary school, and rain barrels in Gentilly — just to name a few. Please join us on Thursday to toast the nonprofit and community leaders behind the projects. Wayward Owl Brewing is located at 3940 Thalia St., in the former Gem Theater. See you there!
A Festival of Environmental Literacy at the New Orleans Public Library
June 3, 2017, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The Water Collaborative is teaming up with the New Orleans Public Library to help kickoff summer reading on June 3, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m, at the Main Branch, 219 Tulane Ave. There will be activities, talks and exhibits for all ages!
Outside, you can help paint a rain barrel or build a miniature rain garden. Inside, there will be educational exhibits, mural making and a kids coloring station.
A series of conversations with water sector professionals begins at 11. It’s a great opportunity for teens and young adults to learn about career opportunities. A noon training with I See Change is also great for young people ready to use technology to help their community.
At 1 p.m. there will be special screening of the film Liminal Bodies Study No. 2 with a live score performed by the Furniture Music Ensemble. Following the performance composer Jeff Pagano will discuss the role of water as inspiration and motif in classical music.
All-day exhibits and activities
• Build a Miniature Rain Garden – Exterior Porch, 1st floor
• Paint a Rain Barrel – Exterior Porch, 1st floor
• Educational Exhibits – Bridgeway, 2nd floor
• “Water Word Cloud” Mural Making – Bridgeway, 2nd floor
• Blue Lexicon Scavenger Hunt – Bridgeway, 2nd floor
• Coloring Station – Children’s Area, 2nd floor
• 11 a.m. – Conversations with Water Researchers and Innovators
• Noon – Hands-on Training with I See Change Community Climate App
• 1 p.m. – Furniture Music Ensemble Live Performance and “Liminal Bodies, Study No. 2” Screening
• 1:15 p.m. – Composer Jeff Pagano Discusses Water as Artistic Medium and Inspiration
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