Louisiana Watershed Initiative holding listening meetings

Louisiana Watershed Initiative holding listening meetings

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - What are your public officials doing to prevent flooding? That’s an important question for most people; especially those who have had water in their homes.

The latest effort is called the Louisiana Watershed Initiative.

Flooding is a huge issue for many in Southwest Louisiana.

And while acts of nature can’t be prevented, through good science and cooperation among neighboring parishes and districts, the Louisiana Watershed Initiative hopes to reduce flooding risk and improve resilience in communities.

This year, the federal government allocated $1.2 billion to reduce flood risk in Louisiana.

Jeffrey Giering is with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and he’s the State's Hazard Mitigation Officer.

"The funding that we anticipate receiving will need to be implemented within the next three to four years, so we'll start to see projects getting implemented. We'll see the planning efforts moving forward. We'll see models within the next year," said Giering.

Models to help show how water behaves.

"Where water goes, how it gets there, what happens when it gets there, and kind of what those effects are mostly after disaster events occur. It’s going to help them understand when water comes, where it goes, what happens with that water. It will help lead into how we develop or how we continue to develop our communities and neighborhoods, where does development occur, are there safer ways to occur? Or, are there areas of the state maybe we shouldn’t develop a residential subdivision in that area?” said Giering.

This statewide listening tour includes experts sharing what they know, what research they are working on, and how to assure the accuracy of data.

Dennis Scott heads the Calcsieu Police Jury Drainage Committee.

“I believe that there’s always going to be disasters that happen in this world, but I believe that we could be better at planning, preparing, absorbing, and adapting, so we can actually recover sooner and faster,” said Scott.

He says area development will be a major part of it.

“Developing in this parish and in our neighboring parishes, across this state and country, we will begin to see a different way of doing it and I think, in 20 to 25 years, you’ll take notice of it,” said Scott.

Officials say 2016 flooding caused $10 billion in damages with recovery efforts still ongoing.

For more information on the Louisiana Watershed Initiative check out the links in this story. Here’s how to get involved. There’s a video about coastal loss.

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