What’s porous paving? All new lots in New Orleans must have in city’s fight with water woes

New Orleans is a city often inundated by water and, just as often, a city frustrated in its attempts to deal with it.

Now, joining a movement that supporters say will help mitigate flooding and soil subsidence, the City Council has decided that all new commercial parking surfaces in New Orleans must be porous.

The rules unanimously approved by the council last week require businesses to use pervious paving — which lets rainwater flow through it, to be absorbed by the soil beneath it — for any new projects. The rules do not require businesses to replace existing concrete lots and do not affect residential construction.

Parking spaces must be porous under the new rules, but “driving lanes” in parking lots do not need to be. That’s because heavily traveled parts of parking lots tend to need the heavy-duty support that impervious materials provide.

Porous parking surfaces obviously won’t solve the problem of street flooding in New Orleans or clear the canals and pipelines that drain the city. But they will lighten the burden placed on the city’s drainage system during heavy rainfalls and curb stormwater runoff to Lake Pontchartrain, council members said.

Read more from Jessica Williams with NOLA.com here.