Louisiana Can Learn from Netherlands, Landrieu Says

U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) on May 29 concluded her Congressional Delegation trip to the Netherlands where she studied the Dutch integrated water management system with federal government officials, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers. The Dutch's ability to manage water is world-renowned, and the Netherlands shares many of Louisiana's challenges with protecting populations and economic infrastructure below sea level.

"The people of Louisiana need a new model, and I believe we can incorporate some of the state-of-the-art technologies the Dutch have developed to protect their communities," Landrieu said. "I am working to ensure we continue sharing ideas and best practices.

Site visits included water management experts and officials in Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Delft, and Kampen. The delegation focused on the nuts and bolts of internal water management, both in urban and rural environments. The visit also included a tour and briefing about land that the Netherlands reclaimed from the water, including the Zuyder Zee Project, and a visit to Kampen, a medieval city that has incorporated modern flood protection.

Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Netherlands was one of the first nations to extend support to Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, including civil engineers and mobile pumps to remove floodwaters in the New Orleans region..

Since 2006, Louisiana has made progress in protecting coastal communities, including 100-year flood protection for the New Orleans region to be completed by 2011. While Louisiana and the Netherlands share similar characteristics, Holland has built a10,000-year flood protection system.