The world's largest water pump is now under construction in New Orleans, and when it's finished in 2011, it'll blast 150,000 gallons of floodwater per second. This should be a welcome sight for those who stood helpless four years ago while the city flooded from the waters of Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Katrina.
We've seen some crazy schemes for impregnable triangular-shaped utopias in New Orleans, but this is getting practical. That is, unless you think $500 million is too much to spend on a water pump. That's not all. As part of a $14 billion project to keep New Orleans above water when another hurricane hits, also under construction are 32-foot tall steel gates that reach to the river bottom, capable of holding back a 16-foot storm surge.
This mother of all pumps harnesses a gigantic 5,000-horsepower diesel engine to power its awesome propeller, sucking those hurricane floodwaters through a special grate that filters out such detritus as cars, trees, and other hurricane flotsam and jetsam. The Army Corps of Engineers says the station will be able to "withstand almost everything." Let's hope those Category 5 hurricanes can hold off until construction is complete.