Yard Flooding? Consider These Solutions

By Susan Langenhennig, NOLA.com Home and Garden Editor
Published January 10, 2018

Last year, 72.42 inches of rain poured down on metro New Orleans, according to the National Weather Service’s measurements at the Louis Armstrong International Airport. With all that rain came flooding.

Streets were inundated, and some houses, cars and yards were soaked. Around the metro area, local governments have been scrambling to deal with the issue.

Residents, though, don’t have to wait for their governments to take action. There are simple things homeowners can do to help mitigate the damage of rising water on their properties and reduce flash flooding on their blocks. And, green infrastructure experts say, don’t discount the benefit of such incremental improvements.

By holding onto some rainwater that falls on roofs, hits the gutters and flows into downspouts, residents can divert it from the street or yard, helping minimize flash flooding. They also can reuse it for garden and lawn irrigation, thereby saving a few dollars on their water bills.

Capturing water in rain barrels and rain gardens allows stormwater to be absorbed into the ground to recharge the aquifer and fight subsidence. It also allows pollutants to be naturally filtered instead of flowing into canals, bayous, lakes, estuaries and wetlands, according to “The Joy of Water: A Homeowner’s Guide to Becoming Water Wise,” a soft-copy illustrated book that explains in easy steps how to better manage drainage.

So what can homeowners do to help improve drainage issues?

The Urban Conservancy’s Front Yard Initiative helps residents remove excess paving in front of their homes. Yards full of impermeable surfaces can contribute to flash flooding, as rainwater hits the concrete and funnels into the street. Plus, paving more than 40 percent of a front yard is illegal in New Orleans.

The goal is to replace concrete with plants. The Front Yard Initiative “will reimburse eligible homeowners for $2.50 per square foot of paving removed — up to 500 square feet — for a maximum of $1,250,” said Eness, executive director of the Urban Conservancy.

To qualify for the reimbursements, projects are evaluated on several factors, including “high impact, visibility, the overall square feet removed and others,” she said. Because of its grand funding, the program is only open to Orleans Parish residents right now, but Eness hopes it will expand across the region.

To date, the program has removed a total of 18,474.73 square feet of paving. “That translates into 1,490.4 cubic feet per hour, or the equivalent of about 186 bathtubs full of water, being managed on site rather than entering our catch basins during a one-hour, 1-inch rain event,” Eness said, using a calculation called the Rational Method.

“When you do this, you immediately see water behaving differently on your property,” she said.

Concrete Removal

Find out more ways to fight flooding and improve drainage by reading the full article here!

Front Yard Initiative Links

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