Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – Many neighborhoods near the bayou or branch lines are at risk of flooding, and to help reduce that risk, a retention pond is underway near Contraband Bayou.

The majority of the Lake Charles University District is drained by two branch lines off Contraband Bayou, Calcasieu Parish Director of Public Works Allen Wainwright explained. He said the detention basin off Louisiana Avenue would also help that area.

“It will have a positive benefit in this area because every drop of water that we can keep out of the drainage system there will allow more water to flow through the system here a little more efficiently,” Wainwright said.

Wainwright spoke with some residents of the University area and was asked if the FEMA flood maps were going to be updated and provide more accuracy. Wainwright said Public Works was working to make a request to the police jury to change the maps.

“I think the best information for most people will help them make good decisions when building homes, buying new properties, so they have the most accurate maps possible. We [public works] think it would be good for the community,” he said.

He said the drainage efforts will help the community earn points in FEMA’s rating system.

“Most of the municipalities in the parish of Calcasieu are all part of what is called a FEMA Community Rating System (CRS) and in this system you earn points which ultimately the more points you earn , the better score you get,” Wainwright said.

The score you get from CRS is used in calculating your insurance rates.

“We can affect the reduction in insurance rates through good points from the CRS program,” Wainwright said. “Well, this pond is an example of a project that will earn a considerable number of points in this system.”

Wainwright said Public Works continues to make plans to support the Calcasieu Parish watershed to reduce the risk of flooding throughout the area.

The detention basin began earlier this month and is expected to be completed by March 2024.