(KPLC) - By Brianna Jones-Williams
and Martha Ramirez
LSU Manship School News Service
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana could be one of the first states to have a statewide system to predict flooding.
The Water Institute of the Gulf, a nonprofit research institute, told a joint legislative committee Tuesday that it could develop such a system to help reduce flood damage.
Justin Ehrenwerth, the chief executive officer of The Water Institute of the Gulf, emphasized how devastating the 2016 flood was for Louisiana. He explained to the Joint Select Committee on Homeland Security that although the state had the data on how much rain was going to fall, it did not know which areas would be the most affected.
He said the new system could predict which neighborhoods would be affected the most, and officials could send out help accordingly. It was unclear how the system would be funded, but Ehrenwerth said it would be crucial in preventing future natural disaster damages.
The forecasting system would require that all engineering firms and other organizations involved maintain a consistent approach in collecting data. The forecasts based on this data would be available for the entire state to use.
This system would be based on a system that is now used in the Netherlands. The Water Institute of the Gulf has partnered with water-management researchers in the Netherlands to create something similar here in Louisiana. Once this system is developed, it could be shared with other states that have similar problems with natural disasters.
The Water Institute of the Gulf is located along the Mississippi River on River Road in Baton Rouge. It was founded in a collaborative effort in 2011 by the State of Louisiana, Senator Mary Landrieu and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.