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Reducing Our Risk
Organization: Waggonner & Ball Architects
Survival on the Mississippi River Delta requires constant awareness of the forces of water, with “multiple lines of defense” to protect against high water in the Mississippi, hurricanes approaching from the Gulf of Mexico, and intense rainfall due to a sub-tropical climate. The federal levees and floodwalls at the project area’s perimeter protect human settlement from high river waters and hurricane storm surges. Within the levees, complex systems of canals, pipes, and pumps protect against flooding caused by rainfall. These systems are inadequate to the challenges posed by a changing urban landscape and climate, and are the primary cause of subsidence in the region. The Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan (The Plan) focuses on water within the levees—primarily stormwater, surface waters, and groundwater—and a new approach to managing these resources. It outlines principles for water management, regional planning, and urban design that are specific to this region, developed out of a process that considers 1) the region’s soils, water, and biodiversity, 2) existing infrastructure networks, and 3) the urban fabric.