How a legacy of racism is putting a 115-year-old historically Black town at risk of flooding — again
Last March, California’s barrage of atmospheric river storms overwhelmed the area, flooding pistachio orchards and swamping communities, and Allensworth found itself all but surrounded by a shallow sea. Residents were told to evacuate. They were also told that this flood is just the beginning. California is fighting a slow-motion disaster, one that could become its largest flood in recent history. … Part of Allensworth’s problem stems from the politics of water: For over a hundred years, water in the Tulare Lake basin has been controlled and hoarded by a handful of powerful landowners, usually at the expense of everyone else. The basin’s water management system still favors those landowners, leaving Allensworth with little recourse when floodwaters approach.