Updated Sept. 14
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.
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
See and share this event on Facebook.
The Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans and UNO’s Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences present hands-on educational outings for students and their families on Saturday, May 27, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. This is a great opportunity for students who have studied water and wetlands in school to build on their studies with an immersive outdoor learning experience. RSVP now.
Veteran educator Dinah Maygarden will lead a canoe outing to explore the dynamics of water movement in Chef Menteur Pass and the estuary’s connection to the Gulf of Mexico. After sampling small aquatic organisms that live in the wetlands and testing water quality, participants will discuss what makes a healthy ecosystem.
There is no cost, but participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the Shea Penland Coastal Education and Research Facility in East New Orleans. Please dress appropriately for outdoor activity, wear sunscreen and insect repellent, and bring water. You may also bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds after the outing.
Participating students should be rising 5th graders or older and accompanied by an adult. One adult can bring multiple siblings or friends.
Because space is limited, you must RSVP to secure your spot.
This year, the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans is participating in Give NOLA Day, presented by the Greater New Orleans Foundation. One day a year, Southeast Louisiana takes a moment to thank, celebrate and support the nonprofit organizations that serve our community.
The Water Collaborative is taking part in Give NOLA Day because it’s a convenient, simple way for members and friends to support our work to make Greater New Orleans a global leader in green infrastructure! Donations allow us to provide walk-and-learn tours, educational materials, professional development, and workshops free of charge–building the movement for safe, sustainable water management.
Please include the Water Collaborative in your Give NOLA Day!
Join us Thursday, March 23 at 4 p.m. for a special guided tour of the NORA rain garden at 2222 N. Broad St. RSVP here. Squeezed into a once-vacant lot overlooking the Florida Ave. Canal, are eight cypress trees, a bright planter filled with irises and an elaborate mural declaring New Orleans “Our Water City.” With the Sewerage and Water Board’s Pump Station #3 visible just across the street, it’s a vivid picture of integrated urban water management.
We’ll learn more about how New Orleans Redevelopment Authority selected this site and how landscape architects from Spackman, Mossop and Michaels designed the tiered bioswale to filter and absorb stormwater. We’ll find out how the city’s Mosquito and Termite Control Board works with green infrastructure professionals to ensure that sites like this don’t incubate pests, and how the nonprofit SOUL is using volunteers to plant more trees on private lots in Mid-City.
Featured speakers include:
- Brian Burns, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority
- Bridget Tydor, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans
- Joe Becker, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans
- Brendan Carter, Mosquito and Termite Control Board
- Emily Bullock, Spackman, Mossop + Michaels
- Susannah Burley, Sustaining our Urban Landscape
This free event was organized by Water Works on behalf of Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation.
Lisa via Flickr
In New Orleans, we know about the power of the crowd. Not only do our krewes and clubs put on the world’s most famous street party every year, but our neighborhoods, nonprofits and congregations have done incredible things to rebuild the city. By harnessing the skills and generosity of our people, we can create a more resilient region.
That’s why we’re looking for someone to help launch an innovative web-based platform that connects talent, volunteerism and philanthropy. This is a six-month, grant-funded position. If you are passionate about building a better New Orleans region, we want to hear from you. Read the position announcement here.
If you are a member of the Water Collaborative or interested in volunteering with us, please make plans to attend our All Hands meeting on Feb. 2. Held at the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy, 919 St. Charles Avenue, this a great opportunity to meet activists and volunteers from all the working groups that make up the Water Collaborative. The meeting runs 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. with free parking available. We’ll discuss exciting program opportunities in 2017 and the ways each of us can contribute. Together, we are growing the water sector for sustainability, safety and stewardship across the region!
Jan. 29 Walk & Learn examines cemeteries and water management
Join us for a special, Sunday afternoon walk-and-learn tour of New Orleans cemeteries, 1 p.m. Jan. 29, led by Emily Ford of Oak and Laurel Cemetery Preservation, LLC. Emily specializes in the repair and restoration of New Orleans’ iconic tombs and mausoleums. While our cemeteries are among the area’s most popular destinations for tourists as well as locals, they are also left exposed to the elements and subjected to neglect. When tombs suffer damage, water is often the culprit. Years of paving worsen the situation in some cemeteries. However, there are solutions.
This half-mile walking tour, which will last approximately 1.5 hours, begins at Dispersed of Judah Cemetery, 4937 Canal St. Be sure to dress comfortably in sturdy footwear. Cemeteries are historic and civic sites of particular significance to many. Please arrive prepared to approach them with respect. Find more details and RSVP via Facebook.