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A Design To Stop Louisiana From Drowning By Adding Faucets To The Mississippi


Stashed in: Design!, New Orleans

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"Even if you capture every grain of sediment that comes down the river, you still can't build enough land to sustain the entire Delta as it exists today," says Ford. "That starting point, of saying this is the kind of land loss we're looking at, sets up the need for a much bolder and bigger solution." An interactive map on their site shows how much more land can be saved the more sediment is captured.

Their suggestion: Building a series of faucet-like gates along the river that could be turned on and off to let sediment naturally spread, in a controlled way. "Over the next hundred years you can imagine opening the river up in a basin, letting it run for a while, capturing as much sediment as you can, doing it again in another basin, and kind of cycling through the basins to try to capture as much land as possible," she says.

By letting the river flow out at strategic locations, the plan would also help the river from overflowing its banks in New Orleans. "If the river is opened up into one of these basins, all of the sudden the river elevation would drop," Ford says. "It drops it enough that the city's flood risk reduction is improved by eight times as much. Because all of the sudden the river is no longer as high, so when it floods, it doesn't get as high with floodwater."

It really does sound like the equivalent of a faucet.

Thanks for the reminder. Boot is still there for now.

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