Communities across the nation are increasingly turning to green infrastructure solutions as part of a multi-pronged stormwater management strategy. Green infrastructure refers to a suite of installations that mimic natural processes to slow and reduce the stormwater volume flowing into traditional stormwater drainage systems. Every gallon diverted from flowing directly to existing drains eases the pressure on conveyance systems and reduces the severity of urban flooding caused by storm drain backups. New Orleans is especially vulnerable to flooding and stands to benefit in numerous ways from the continued installation of distributed green infrastructure.
Water Wise Gulf South (WWGS) in partnership with Greater Tremé Consortium/Water Wise Tremé, Healthy Community Services/Water Wise 7th Ward, and Upper 9th Ward Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association/Water Wise Upper 9th Ward has been installing green infrastructure projects in New Orleans since 2013. The Water Wise model relies on a partnership approach between community-based organizations that strive to reduce repetitive flooding, subsidence, and climate change impacts while also improving water quality. The partnership empowers diverse community members to implement green infrastructure solutions, addressing community concerns through educational and training support as well as community-building events.
WWGS supports community-driven green infrastructure solutions that mitigate repetitive flooding and subsidence as well as improving water quality and reducing climate change impacts like sea-level rise. WWGS empowers individuals, neighbors, and communities through training and other events. As of 2020 the neighborhood organizations have conducted workshops, planted over 160 trees, and implemented over 142 green infrastructure projects that have added more than 48,450 gallons of stormwater retention capacity ranging. As the accompanying fact sheet shows, these neighborhood groups have completed other projects since 2020 that store thousands more gallons of stormwater. These projects include rain gardens, concrete removal, French drains, rain barrels, stormwater planter boxes, pervious pavement, and bioswales. Figure 1 shows completed projects and planned green infrastructure installations in these neighborhoods. To interact with this information and view the map in more detail please visit https://arcg.is/1XzC1v0.
Earth Economics (EE) analyzed the value of current and future green infrastructure installations by Greater Tremé Consortium, Healthy Community Services, and Upper 9th Ward to ground WWGS's advocacy with data-driven evidence for engagement with the City of New Orleans and prospective funders to increase installations of community-driven biophilic solutions. This report supplements a fact sheet of the analysis by providing additional context and references.