Five workshops on how other U.S. cities are turning their water challenges into water assets

More than ever, issues of flooding, subsidence, aging infrastructure, and financial sustainability demand fresh perspectives and new approaches. The Greater New Orleans Foundation, Urban Institute, and over 30 community partners are proud to present: Urban Water Series: Strategies That Work, a series of five workshops to learn how other U.S. cities, with problems and challenges similar to those in New Orleans, have introduced innovative water management and financing. This series is intended to jumpstart a citywide conversation about our water challenges – and possible solutions.

The Urban Water Series’ workshops will take place from 4:30 – 6:00 PM, on the Wednesdays: June 5, June 19, June 26, and July 10. All workshops are free, open to the public, and will be held at the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, 1441 Canal St. New Orleans, LA 70112. During the series, regional and national experts from such cities as Portland (OR), Houston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., will share what has worked for them and how those lessons might apply to New Orleans and the region.

“The cities that will thrive in the future are those that successfully integrate green infrastructure practices into all their water policies, most significantly in how they manage stormwater” said Director of Innovation in Infrastructure, Dr. Sandi Rosenbloom, with the Urban Institute. “Green infrastructure approaches to stormwater management bring multiple social, economic, and environmental benefits to the community. And green infrastructure measures directly involve citizens in making crucial water management decisions about their streets and neighborhoods as well as the city and the region.”

“We can no longer afford to continue to ‘fix’ our problems by investing, over and over again, in upgrades to our conventional infrastructure,” saidMarco Cocito-Monoc, director of regional initiatives at Greater New Orleans Foundation. “The time is now to find new and sustainable solutions to our water challenges. We invite those who have an interest in the city and the region’s strategies to join us and our partners.”

Urban Water Series: Strategies That Work Workshop Schedule:

Workshop 2– Metropolitan and Comprehensive Green Stormwater Strategies (Wednesday, June 5 from 4:30PM – 6:00PM) From bayous to rain gardens, Houston and Philadelphia have brought nature back into the city as a way to control rainwater. Attendees will discover how and hear about the role community involvement has played in raising funds and protecting watershed areas.

Speakers include: Michael Talbott, Director of Harris County Flood Control District (Houston, TX); and Julie Slavet, Executive Director of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankfurt Watershed Partnership (Philadelphia, PA)

Workshop 3– Green Alleys, Streets, and Neighborhoods (Wednesday, June 19 from 4:30PM – 6:00PM) Milwaukee and Portland have found affordable, green solutions for managing stormwater at the neighborhood level with permeable streetscapes, bioswales, green roofs, and rain barrels. Attendees will learn how these green infrastructure projects help absorb rainwater and relieve pressure on aging stormwater systems.

Speakers include: Karen Sands, Manager of Sustainability at Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (Milwaukee, WI); and Bill Owen, Senior Engineer at Bureau of Environmental Services (Portland, OR)

Workshop 4– Innovative Financing Options for Green Stormwater Infrastructure (Wednesday, June 26 from 4:30PM – 6:00PM) Incentives for businesses and homeowners to manage stormwater on site have encouraged communities across the country to go green. Attendees will hear how innovative public-private partnerships as well as creative funding sources, such as charging people for letting stormwater run off their property in Washington, D.C., can help pay for green infrastructure.

Speakers include: Brian Van Wye, Branch Chief of Stormwater Program Implementation, District of Columbia Department of the Environment (Washington, DC); and Charlotte Kaiser Director of Finance at The Nature Conservancy

Workshop 5 – Creating Local Change; Making a Commitment to Next Steps (Wednesday, July 10 from 4:30PM – 6:00PM) Discuss what New Orleans can learn from other vanguard cities – and what they can learn from us. This critical final session will bring together learnings from the entire series and empower attendees to move the conversation forward. It is our hope that we will leave this session with a list of next steps that we can pursue collectively as a community.

Moderator: Jeff Eger, Executive Director of the Water Environment Foundation; and David Waggonner, Principal of Waggonner & Ball Architects.

To register, visit or contact Julia MacMullan at 504.598.4663 or [email protected] Advance registration is strongly encouraged as space is limited.