Letter to Our Customers: Saltwater Intrusion Update

Dear Customers,

Yesterday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released encouraging new saltwater intrusion projections. According to the updated timeline, all SWBNO intakes should not see elevated chloride levels above 250 parts per million (ppm). While this change is welcome, our optimism is measured. We will continue to carefully monitor the timeline and the river’s water chemistry.

After consulting with the Louisiana Department of Health, we are moving forward with our blending plans for the Algiers intakes. Any chloride levels higher than our usual range (20ppm to 60ppm) could still impact our drinking water supply. Blending will dilute the water to keep chloride levels within our typical range. We will coordinate with USACE to barge in 14 million gallons of fresh water a day to blend with the salty water at our Algiers intakes. 

Once the saltwater wedge begins to impact Algiers, all Westbank customers will play a vital role in the quality of our tap water. Once we begin blending efforts, conservation will be important. The less tap water used, the further that fresh water goes. Here are some tips on how to conserve water so you can protect yourselves, your neighbors, and those you care about:

  • Take shorter showers.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry.
  • If you have a dishwasher, use it rather than handwashing dishes.
  • Check your toilets for leaks.
  • Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks.
  • Turn off faucets when you can.
  • Sweep off porches, sidewalks, and driveways. Don’t spray.
  • Go without a car wash. A dirty car is a sign you are doing your part.
  • Let grass go dormant.
    • Your lawn needs to recharge just like you. Keep your sprinkler off a few more weeks.
  • Be thoughtful about what plants you water and how. For example:
    • Save the water from your shower as you wait for it to warm up.
    • Install a rain barrel.

For the Eastbank, we are confident chloride levels will remain within our typical range based on the current projections. We will continue monitoring the situation and be on standby to resume our mitigation efforts should the timeline shift in the coming weeks.

Saltwater intrusion is a threat that seems to keep recurring. Yesterday, we met with federal officials to discuss the importance of long-term solutions in the face of these threats. SWBNO is dedicated to partnering with local, regional, and federal agencies to find long-term solutions that protect public health.

We also commit to communicating any impacts or changes with you as we move forward. We will continue to provide daily chloride reports in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health on SWBNO’s Saltwater Intrusion Dashboard and social media accounts. For regular updates on the saltwater wedge and timeline, visit emergency.la.gov/Saltwater.

Thank you for your continued strength and alertness as a community.   



Yours in service,

Ghassan Korban and the SWBNO Team

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