On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane.
The damage wrought by the storm was unprecedented. Approximately 80% of New Orleans was flooded to depths exceeding 15 feet in many areas. Surge and waves caused 50 major levee breaches. Thirty-four of the city’s 71 pumping stations were damaged, and 169 of the system’s 350 miles of protective structures were compromised. Also contributing to the flooding was heavy rainfall: 14 inches in a 24-hour period. More than 1,500 lives were lost. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Katrina is costliest disaster ever to occur in the United States.
In the aftermath of Katrina, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers established Task Force Guardian with the main mission to repair and restore the HSDRRS to pre-Katrina conditions – a feat that was accomplished by the beginning of the 2006 hurricane season.
The Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) is better than at any time in its history, providing greatly reduced risk of flooding from hurricane surges.
The video below details how HSDRRS will defend against the effects of a 100-year storm surge.
USACE and its partners have raised and strengthened virtually all of the levees, floodwalls, pump stations and surge barriers that form the 133-mile Greater New Orleans HSDRRS. Major accomplishments include:
- Signing four major Project Partnership Agreements with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority that were necessary to proceed with construction. All Individual Environmental Reports are complete.
- Implementing a robust Independent External Peer Review of the entire system.
- Bringing the massive West Closure Complex to 100-year level of risk reduction on June 1, 2011. This project includes the largest drainage pump station in the world; the pumps can fill an Olympic-sized pool in 4.5 seconds when all 11 pumps are running.
- Achieving 100-year level of defense at the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier Project, USACE’s largest-ever design-build civil works construction contract and one of the largest surge barriers in the world (nearly two miles).
- Constructing 23 miles of floodwalls (at about two miles per month) on top of existing levees to achieve 100-year level risk reduction in St. Bernard Parish, one of the communities most heavily affected by Hurricane Katrina.
To learn more about work being conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, visit http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/hps2/index.asp.