Saltwater pushing into Mississippi River could compromise Louisiana drinking water

The Mississippi River is facing a crisis of saltwater making its way up the waterway from the Gulf of Mexico.

Drinking water in some parts of Louisiana is facing a risk from the salt water, resulting in the Bayou State’s Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) saying he is only a number of days away from asking for an emergency declaration from the federal government, according to The Associated Press. The river is also experiencing a drought.

“Unfortunately, we just haven’t had the relief from dry conditions … so that (saltwater) intrusion is worsening, in the sense that it’s moving further up the river,” Edwards said at a news conference Friday, according to AP.

Plaquemines Parish, in the southeastern portion of the state, is, as of now, under a drinking water advisory from high salt levels in the water, and bottled water is being handed out to residents, The AP reported.

On Friday, the Mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell (D) signed an emergency declaration with a focus on the saltwater intrusion. Her office said it would allow the city’s “agencies to thoroughly prepare for and respond to any impending impacts,” in a news release.

“It also allows for a more streamlined response and for state and federal agencies to deploy resources, if necessary,” the release continued.

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