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Terrebonne Parish braces for flood water from Morganza Spillway

"If they do not put a barge in Bayou Chene, some homes will flood."

TERREBONNE PARISH, La. — In Terrebonne, they're already dealing with high water. Work is being done to try and get that water down, but with news that the Morganza Spillway is expected to open, worry is beginning to rise.

"Our flooding here is caused by the Mississippi River, by the river relieving itself through the Atchafalaya river," said Parish President, Gordon Dove

The parish is fighting it with dirt levees along roads and portable pumps.

"We're pumping about 360 million gallons per 24 hours with this location," Dove said. "We have another location that we're pumping about 140 million gallons so we're doing about a half-a-billion gallons per day trying to keep the water from rising."

With the Atchafalaya and other tributaries reporting high water levels, it's been tough getting this water out. Now, with the Morganza expected to open, worry is flooding in.

"The issue with the Morganza is it brings additional water down the Atchafalaya river which brings additional backwater flooding to us," said Earl Eues, the Director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

RELATED: Governor say Morganza Spillway opening is 'more likely than not'

Officials though are working on a plan, one which helped the last time Morganza opened in 2011.

"There's talk at the present time of putting in a temporary barge structure in Bayou Chene," Eues said. "If the barge goes in, it gives us more protection from the backwater flooding. If it doesn't go in, we can expect another half foot to foot of water in the western part of Terrebonne Parish."

It's now a race against time to get it in place before it opens, officials are confident though.

"It takes about 12-to-13 days of long hours working 24/7 to put that barge in place," Eues said. "So hopefully we'll have that in place before the majority of water comes down from Morganza and affects the Atchafalaya river."

They also say they'll be working day and night to help make sure residents are not just safe, but dry too.

The key right now is to get the funding and procedures for the barge in place by May 28.

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