Green Infrastructure: A Solution
Since New Orleans was settled by the French in 1718, New Orleanians have been learning to adapt to and live with water. The city is a series of basins surrounded by Lake Pontchartrain and nestled along the mighty Mississippi. Grey infrastructure in the form of pipes, pumps, and drains combine to make our drainage system. The problem with grey infrastructure is that it has limited capacity and is easily overwhelmed during high intensity rain events. Over time, grey infrastructure has caused the gradual sinking of the city - known as subsidence - due to the excessive pumping of storm water. Maintaining this type of infrastructure is also costly to install and maintain. Green infrastructure (GI) on the other hand increases our capacity to manage storm water and the benefits are plentiful. GI functions to detain storm water for the eventual infiltration into the ground that helps to minimize subsidence. GI also reduces flooding, is easy to maintain, and generally looks nice. GI comes in many different forms not limited to rain gardens, bioswales, and permeable pavement. If you’re a New Orleans resident and want to talk more about GI solutions in your community, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.