World Water Day 2016: Louisiana, Water and Coastal Restoration Jobs

Today (March 22) is the United Nations’ World Water Day – an international observance and opportunity to learn about water-related issues, be inspired and teach others, and take action to make a difference.

Today, almost half of the world's workers – 1.5 billion people – work in water-related sectors, and nearly all jobs depend on water and those that ensure its safe delivery. Each year, the UN sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge. This year’s theme, “Water and Jobs,” focuses on how the quantity and quality of water can change workers' lives and livelihoods and even transform societies and economies for the better.

Water offers Louisianians nearly unlimited economic potential; but, in contrast, it poses a major threat to our coast, and the people and wildlife that call south Louisiana home. This is why coastal restoration is imperative for our vanishing coast – not only as protection against storm surge, but also to preserve the estuaries that produce 25% of American seafood, habitat for the 100 million birds that pass through the Mississippi River Delta each year, and home of nearly 2 million people living in or near the delta.

In Louisiana’s Coastal Zone, the water management sector – which includes coastal restoration, coastal protection and urban water management – is now the fastest growing industry, driving economic expansion and eclipsing the oil and gas sector in creating new jobs, according to a recent study by the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition using research by The Data Center.

Coastal restoration and protection is not only the biggest jobs creator in coastal Louisiana, it has some of the highest-paying jobs, averaging $69,277 per year.

So what is coastal restoration anyway and what does it look like? The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, a member of the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, has produced a video, A View of Restoration from the Barataria Basin, which gives a high-level overview of the issue, the impacts and causes of coastal land loss and an in-depth view of the different restoration projects occurring in the Barataria Basin.

Watch A View of Restoration from the Barataria Basin below for a better sense of how coastal restoration projects all work together to help restore our coast.