Leading into the weekend, fear is quickly spreading amongst New Orleans residents after mayor LaToya Cantrell signed an emergency declaration for the city due to a saltwater intrusion that is threatening the local water supply.
Per reporting from various outlets, saltwater from the the Gulf of Mexico has been creeping up the drought-hit Mississippi River in Louisiana, and markets are being wiped clean of any and all bottled water as people ready themselves for the possibility that they may no longer be able to rely on water from the tap for drinking, washing or cooking.
In a feature from The Guardian, Louisiana governor, John Bel Edwards, is quoted addressing the issue, saying, “the state would be requesting an emergency declaration from the federal government in the next couple of days as well to get federal funds and agencies involved.”
Per their coverage of the emergency, “the saltwater has already entered the drinking water of communities south of New Orleans – from Empire Bridge to Venice, Louisiana – making the water undrinkable for about 2,000 residents and causing water outages at local schools. As the saltwater moves upriver, it could affect the drinking water for another 20,000 people in Belle Chasse. After that it could reach the drinking water intake for the New Orleans community of Algiers, across the river from the French Quarter.”
According to CNN, The US Army Corps of Engineers is planning to barge 36 million gallons of freshwater daily into the lower Mississippi River near New Orleans as a preventative measure.