Letter From New Orleans: River Of Salt

Photo via WWL-TV.com

There was a panic run on bottled water in the New Orleans area late last week. That usually happens because of a hurricane. This time, it’s a saltwater intrusion that menaces our drinking water. It’s been a tough summer best summed up by an OG NOLA blogger:

I almost stole deconstructed hurricane. I borrowed it instead. There may not be honor among thieves but there is among bloggers.

You know things are bad when your Governor informs his flock that there’s no bottled water shortage. It reminds me of my annual hurricane season admonition:

The saltwater intrusion is the result of the drought I’ve been banging on about for weeks. The water level of the Big Muddy is low, low, low.

It’s not just South Louisiana’s problem: the drought is a Mississippi River and Ohio River wide thing. They haven’t had enough rain to keep the river levels high enough to help us ward off the saltwater wedge. Hence the bottled water run:

Governor Edwards has asked for an emergency declaration. If this had to happen, I’m glad he’s still in office. The frontrunner to replace the term limited Governor is state AG and past malaka of the week, Jeff Landry. A climate change denialist, Landry is quite capable of blaming this mess on wokeness. He’s just the latest in a long line of Gret Stet pols who hates New Orleans. Performative politics are nothing new in Louisiana.

Repeat after me: Climate change is real.

The Army Corps of Engineers has an ambitious plan to try and make the saltwater wedge less portable, so we’ll still have potable water. They’re augmenting a sill in Plaquemines Parish south of us and plan to bring in 36 million gallons of fresh water daily to reduce the salinity levels at water treatment plants. I have no idea if that will work but it couldn’t hurt.

The good news is that the saltwater wedge is moving slowly. It won’t give New Orleans a wedgie until late October:

I rarely drink tap water. I’m not a fan of the taste. BUT I use it for coffee. The thought of salty coffee makes me salty notwithstanding the title of this song:

I wish Mother Nature would provide the solution to the saltwater intrusion blues, but the forecast isn’t promising. We need feet of rain upriver to prevent nature from giving us a saltwater wedgie. What’s next, a saltwater swirly? Despite humanity’s best efforts, Mother Nature always wins in the end.

Repeat after me: Climate change is real.

The last word goes to Bryan Ferry:

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