New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has declared a state of emergency due to saltwater intrusion in the Mississippi River that could potentially impact the region’s water supply. It is predicted that the river’s water levels will reach historic lows in the coming weeks, causing saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico to encroach upstream in Louisiana. The intrusion has already affected Plaquemines Parish since June, and drought conditions have worsened the situation. As a result, the drinking water supply to residents and businesses in southeastern Louisiana has been affected.
To combat the saltwater intrusion, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed an underwater barrier sill in July. However, the saltwater levels have surpassed the sill’s elevation, prompting the need for further action. Additional work will be carried out to enlarge the sill and delay the saltwater intrusion by an estimated 10 to 15 days. Despite these efforts, the dry weather and minimal rainfall are expected to continue, aggravating the situation. Local, state, and federal officials are actively working together to protect water systems and intake points.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards emphasized the importance of staying informed and relying on credible sources for updates. He assured the public that lessons learned from a similar situation in 1988 are being applied and urged against panic or misinformation. The situation is being closely monitored, and efforts are underway to mitigate the impact of the saltwater intrusion on the region’s water supply.
Overall, the emergency declaration highlights the threat of saltwater intrusion in the Mississippi River and the potential consequences for New Orleans and its surrounding areas. The article underscores the need for proactive measures to combat the intrusion and emphasizes the importance of accurate information and public awareness during such events.