The city of New Orleans and its citizens must adopt Best Management Practices (BMP) to successfully manage the heavy rainfall that New Orleans frequently receives. The rain is going to fall so we might as well use it to our advantage. Good storm water management measures can be as common sense as protecting and maintaining mature trees. Researchers have found that one mature tree can absorb nearly 900 gallons of stormwater a day; a block full of trees can mean the difference between flooding and not flooding a neighborhood.
Rain gardens and rain storage systems capture and hold rain allowing water to penetrate in place and thus combat subsidence. Using pervious surfaces for parking lots, driveways and patios allows rainwater to remain close to where it falls instead running into drainage canals or streets.
A bioretention cell is a stormwater best management practice designed to capture and treat the first flush of rain runoff from impermeable surfaces such as a traditional parking lot. Bioretention cells are landscaped depressions used to slow and treat onsite stormwater runoff. Stormwater drains towards the basin and then percolates through the system where it is cleaned by plants and microbes. This is a far better landscape solution than the traditional raised planted beds in parking lots whose trees have an average lifespan of 7 years.
Some immediate benefits from water management practices such as these are improved water quality, flood control, community design, habitat creation, reduction of our urban heat island, improved air quality and these are incremental solutions that can be added to along the way.