Much of New Orleans, Louisiana, lies below sea level. When there's a heavy rain, there's noplace for the water to go but up. The conventional approach to water management has been to pump the rainwater into nearby Lake Pontchartrain. But not everyone thinks that's the best way, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune ("Water in New Orleans: pushing a new approach to old problem," by Richard Rainey).

Reports the paper: "A host of dignitaries, architects and public officials gathered Friday at the Port of New Orleans to unveil the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, an effort to change the hearts and minds of a region that often sees water more as a threat than an asset."

"The scientific thinking behind the plan is simple: Increase the city's groundwater by retaining water in ponds and canals, and subsidence -- a phenomenon that occurs when soft land dries, shrinks, and sinks -- will slow down," the paper reports. "Retaining the water would also have the ancillary benefits of creating more waterfront property within the city limits and reducing the amount of water that would have to be pumped out during a rain event. Along with the Mirabeau site, the plan's first stage targets six other areas in Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Bernard parishes as 'demonstration projects' to illustrate different approaches to water management. They include sites along the Canal Street Canal in Old Metairie, streets in Lakeview, the Lafitte Greenway project, gardens in Elmwood, a 'water walk' near Lake Forest Boulevard in eastern New Orleans, and a wetland near the Forty Arpent Canal."

Local station WWLTV has this report: ("New Urban Water Plan promises better rain drainage control, beautification," by Bill Capo/Eyewitness News). "The plan would create places to temporarily hold rainwater to reduce flooding until drainage systems catch up, from turning vacant lots into parks in St. Bernard, to new ponds, water features, and redesigning drainage canals in Orleans and Jefferson," the station reports.