saltwater intrusion

All the dry weather means there's less water flowing through the once mighty river into the Gulf of Mexico, and low outflow means saltwater from the Gulf is creeping in.

Some Louisiana cities have already begun purchasing drinking water. Now New Orleans is at risk.

Jindal declares emergency as salt water approaches

Aug 15, 2012

Gov. Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency for Plaquemines Parish as it deals with encroaching salt water that's threatening drinking water in the New Orleans area.

Wednesday's declaration clears the way for state agencies to offer help to the parish as it deals with its water supply issues. The Mississippi River was closed temporarily to shipping traffic as contractors began building an underwater barrier that the Army Corps of Engineers says will stop the advance of salt water.

River closed as crews start work on sill

Aug 15, 2012

The Mississippi River has been closed temporarily as contractors placed a pipeline in the Mississippi River to build an underwater barrier that the Army Corps of Engineers says will stop the advance of salt water threatening drinking water in the New Orleans area.

Due to low water levels in the Mississippi River, salt water has been moving far upriver and was at the outskirts of New Orleans by Wednesday, reaching 89 miles north of the mouth of the Mississippi.

Plaquemines Parish officials say they're prepared to use barges to supply fresh water to processing plants in Port Sulphur, Dalcour and Pointe-a-la-Hache if necessary.

The parish gets its water from the Mississippi River, but that source of water is being threatened by the intrusion of salt water from the Gulf of Mexico due to low river levels.

Besides using barges to ship in fresh water, the parish says it may rely on freshwater piped in from neighboring parishes.

Salt water moves up Miss. River, Army Corps reacts

Aug 7, 2012

The Army Corps of Engineers says it will construct an underwater sill in the Mississippi River to stop salt water from threatening drinking water supplies in the New Orleans area.

The move is needed because water levels in the drought-stricken Mississippi have gotten so low that the river is nearly at sea level and this is allowing salt water from the Gulf of Mexico to move far inland.

At the latest check on Monday, salt water was on the outskirts of New Orleans.