What to Know About the Saltwater Threat to Louisiana’s Drinking Water Supply
Low freshwater levels in the Mississippi River are the root of the cause
A long-lasting drought in Louisiana is impacting the drinking water in the Mississippi River, posing a risk for the state's nearly 5 million residents, and particularly those in the New Orleans area.
At the root of the cause are low freshwater levels in the Mississippi River, making it vulnerable to a process known as saltwater infusion, which brings an influx of saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico. This marks the second year in a row when drought has decreased the flow of the water in the Mississippi River. Much of the central and southern regions of the state are currently recording exceptionally high drought levels.
The process is cause for concern. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Friday that he is just a few days away from requesting a declaration of emergency from the federal government to help.
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