Neighbors Feud in California as Floodwaters Threaten Farms, Towns

Allensworth (Craig Kohlruss/Fresno Bee/Tribune News Service via Getty)
Craig Kohlruss/Fresno Bee/Tribune News Service via Getty

Neighbors in some California communities threatened by floodwaters are feuding over whose land the water will fill, as more rain and snow are on the way and the spring snowmelt threatens to inundate low-lying areas.

The old saying in the West goes: “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.” This time, however, the fight is over who will face too much water, not over who will have access to the little water that is typically available.

Recently, authorities in the town of Allensworth, California — the first founded by black Americans, and now predominantly Latino — warned that people are breaching levees and banks to divert waters to other places.

The Los Angeles Times reported that some neighbors are working together, but appealed for outside help. They have also been frustrated by the refusal of some in the area to assist residents as they work to defend their land:

“They wouldn’t allow this water to come into a white town,” [Kayode] Kadara said, standing beside the flood-swollen ditch, where water flowed through the culvert under the road.

When residents saw water surging toward the community on Thursday, they said, they used sandbags, rocks and plywood to plug the flow through two culverts along Highway 43 beside the BNSF train tracks.

“We actually did a good job of temporarily solving a problem. But for whatever reason, the railroad unblocked it,” Kadara said.

As Breitbart News noted last week, the area in which Allensworth sits is a dry lakebed, where a freshwater lake, Tulare Lake, once existed. This year’s heavy storms mean the lake could return for the first time in decades.

Already, a levee breach in Pajaro, in Monterey County, has inundated farmland, putting crops and thousands of farm jobs at risk. More rain and snow are expected to arrive in the season’s 12 “atmospheric river” on Monday.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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