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Carbon Reduction

On a large-scale rain barrels can help combat subsidence

Subsidence, or the sinking of soil, is a major problem in New Orleans. It can be explained using a sponge analogy. Soil, like a sponge, soaks up water when it rains. Different types of soil have different water-holding capacities, and there are many different types of soils in New Orleans. The soil base in New Orleans is like a mosaic of different sponges. When there are heavy rains, the soils are overly saturated with water. City pumps work laboriously to pump out all the water as quickly as possible. When the soil dries, it also behaves like a sponge—it shrinks. The various soil types shift and dry (shrink) at different rates, resulting in subsidence, and this leads to fractured streets and damaged foundations. Rain barrels can capture and store water during a storm that would otherwise run off and need to be pumped out of the city. By releasing the stored water into your soil several hours or days after it has rained, households can help stabilize the water table. The higher the water table, experts believe, the slower the rate of subsidence.

Managing the water in New Orleans

What happens when it rains in New Orleans? How can the city harness the power of nature to prevent flooding and subsidence? Learn more from this video produced by Dana Brown & Associates with funding and assistance from the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, City of New Orleans and Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans.
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Dana Brown Video