Sewerage and Water Board’s Ghassan Korban Proposes ‘Stormwater Fee’ to Pay for Complete Overhaul of Drainage System

Eric Connerly Data News Weekly Contributor

The Executive Director of the Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB), Ghassan Korban believes it’s time for the citizens of New Orleans to pay a drainage fee.

He’s said his agency will need an infusion of billions of dollars for a “complete overhaul” of its antiquated system of drainage culverts, canals, pumps and power generators and electric feeder lines to run those pumps.

“That all costs money, and much like any city that’s managing stormwater, they rely on a user fee called a stormwater fee, which does not exist in this city,” Korban said, in a news story by local CBS affiliate by WWL-TV.

He continued by saying “And I’m very hopeful that the time will come where people will come to their senses in terms of, yes, if we want this city to thrive and not worry about every time it rains, we’ve got to invest in our infrastructure.”

The City is having its upcoming elections and this important issue will not be on the ballot, but Korban wants to come up with a plan to overhaul the entire system, and what it would cost and place it before the voters in the near future.

New Orleans continues to have problems with its sewerage system, and it seems that solutions to this issue will require stakeholders and citizens working together to rebuild the infrastructure that includes the City’s Drainage System.

It is something that many residents have stated they want to see done and was placed before voters in 1985 during the administration of Ernest “Dutch” Morial. The intuitive was defeated during this time by a margin of 54 to 46 percent.

Perhaps after Hurricane Katrina and the recent flooding that seems more a regular occurrence affecting businesses and residents, the City and voters may have to revisit this issue and place it on the ballot.

Either way whether it is passed or not, New Orleans must find a way to invest in a modern Drainage System that works for the residents and businesses of the City.


Sewerage and Water Board Executive Director Ghassan Korban.

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