Press releases

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today addressed the saltwater intrusion into fresh water sources in southeast Louisiana.

Key comments from Kennedy’s remarks include:

“Now, I am an optimist who worries. I am worried about this because about a million of my 4.6 million people in my state depend on this river for drinking water. And, we're in the middle of watching the saltwater come up the river and we don't think it's going to stop coming up the river until sometime around, I don't know, the end of October, maybe. We could be wrong, but I want the Senate and I want my people to understand that their local, their state and their federal governments are dealing with this problem.”

. . .

“First, I want to thank President Biden. President Biden declared a disaster declaration, which allows us to get the assistance of FEMA and I'm very, very grateful for that.

“Number two. Our Corps of Engineers is involved. They're very able people. Our Corps of Engineers, below the city of New Orleans, has built an underwater dam.”

. . .

“Number three. The Corps of Engineers and FEMA are both prepared, if necessary, to deliver us fresh water, if we need it, by barge. And, if you ever wonder about the might of the federal government, and particularly our Corps of Engineers—again, I can't thank them enough—they can deliver up to 36 million gallons of fresh water a day. So, thank you Corps of Engineers, and I want my people back home to know that so they won’t be worried.”


The Mississippi River is experiencing record low water levels. That allows saltwater from the Gulf to creep upriver into the freshwater areas that provide drinking water to parts of southeast Louisiana. 

While the only long-term solution is for the upper Mississippi River Valley to receive ample rain, which would raise the level of the Mississippi River and push the saltwater back into the Gulf.

Until then, Louisiana, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are investing in mitigation efforts. The Corps estimates these efforts will last at least three months. 

This September, saltwater started seeping over the Mississippi River’s man-made sill, the equivalent of an underwater levee, in Plaquemines Parish.

On Sept. 27, 2023, FEMA declared this a federal emergency. Accordingly, FEMA is authorized to provide assistance for emergency measures for Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes. 

Saltwater is expected to reach New Orleans later in October. Currently, the Corps is raising the underwater sill in Plaquemines Parish by 25 feet in order to slow the progress of saltwater creeping up the Mississippi River.

Fresh water is also being barged into water treatment plants in affected areas. 

Kennedy’s full remarks are available here.