OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs wants to do the legwork now to prevent future generations from having to deal with flooding problems. There was a meeting at the Ocean Springs Civic Center on Thursday where people learned about the rising sea level and how it could impact them.
In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, some Ocean Springs residents say they haven't forgotten the power of rising water.
"I think we learned a great deal about flooding and the dangers and excitement of a category two storm type with the surge," said Ray Bellande.
Ocean Springs leaders said the average high water mark is expected to rise by a foot and a half over the next 50 years. That means during severe weather, what are minor flooding problems today could later become major headaches.
"We're trying to prioritize areas in the city that may need to be looked at for storm water runoff, drainage issues, road improvements," said Carolyn Martin, Ocean Springs Grants Administrator. "Things that we can do to enhance our infrastructure as both current storm tides and also in the face of rising waters. Things won't happen overnight, but as we comprise our list and funding becomes available, we'll address the areas that are most vulnerable."
A workshop called Where's the Water is scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m. at Ocean Springs City Hall. Officials said the program is supported through a grant from NOAA and the Mississippi Alabama Sea Grant and Gulf of Mexico Alliance to help Ocean Springs develop more resilience to severe weather.
The city is using a computer program that allows residents to see how future changes in the sea level will impact private and public property.
"When we build new lift stations and put in new infrastructure, water, sewer infrastructure, we make sure that it's high enough and built in such a way that it will last even in the face of high water," said Martin. "We're actively looking at that as we look at our own infrastructure."
City leaders said while many people won't be around in 50 years to reap the benefits, future generations will thank us.
At Thursday's meeting, Ocean Springs leaders gave people tips on how to protect their property from flooding and asked them to fill out a survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JV2CP8K