Corps: Working Pumps will Enhance Flood Protection in New Orleans

March 12, 2008

The threat of a hurricane again flooding New Orleans, which will be greatly reduced when levee improvements are completed, will be further reduced if the pumping system is operational, the Army Corps of Engineers said.

Virtually every part of the city, except for a sliver along the Mississippi River where the French Quarter sits, would flood under current levee conditions in a storm that has the likelihood of occurring once every 500 years, the corps said. Katrina, which inundated 80 percent of the city when it struck on Aug. 29, 2005, was a storm that happens once every 400 years, according to the corps.

The improvements the corps plans, along with a working pumping system, would reduce the 500-year flood risk to two feet or less in most of the city, according the study.

The corps also said a smaller area of the city would likely flood but officials were unable to provide a percentage of reduction, saying only that flooding would be less extensive and not as deep in most of the areas that did flood.

“Pumps are important,” said Ed Link, of the University of Maryland, which did the study.

The study and accompanying maps were developed by testing a variety of features, including levees and topography, against 152 possible future storms. Earlier versions of the maps had been released without the impact the pumps would have.

On The Web: The Army Corps of Engineers risk and reliability data:

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