The Water Wise Gulf South Model is founded on the fact that residents have a rich knowledge of their own communities, so it is important for residents to be in the driver’s seat when advancing green infrastructure in their communities. 

The beginnings of the Water Wise Gulf South Model began in 2016 when Water Wise launched its first Water Wise Neighborhood Champions Training. The training was open to any resident in New Orleans, Louisiana who attended one of the Green Infrastructure 101 Workshops that were hosted across the city. In addition to the 101 Workshop, residents participated in a bus tour of different green infrastructure projects in New Orleans and Visioning Sessions to identify green infrastructure projects in their own neighborhoods.

Since then, the Water Wise Gulf South Model has expanded to include a partnership with local community based organizations. Together, we train residents to become Water Wise Neighborhood Champions in neighborhoods that are experiencing chronic flooding challenges, we implement green infrastructure projects (at many different scales), and we advocate for the implementation of community-driven green infrastructure projects proposed by the Neighborhood Champions. 

Currently, Water Wise Gulf South partners with:

  • Greater Treme Consortium on Water Wise Treme (beginning in 2016)
  • Healthy Community Services on Water Wise 7th Ward (beginning in 2017)
  • Upper 9th Ward Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association on Water Wise Upper 9th Ward (beginning in 2019)

Collectively, there are 65 Water Wise Neighborhood Champions and an additional 85 residents who are soon to become Water Wise Neighborhood Champions. Our partnership has allowed us to install over 130 green infrastructure facilities that capture approximately 50,000 gallons of stormwater. 


Neighborhood leaders are already experts about their communities. When they marry the expertise of their community with newly learned information about green infrastructure, they become a champion for advancing green infrastructure in their neighborhoods in a way that truly serves their communities.