Gov. Gavin Newsom visits Tulare Lake Basin to survey flooding

Elisa Navarro Image
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Gov. Gavin Newsom visits Tulare Lake Basin to survey flooding
Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the Central Valley on Tuesday to see the flooding of the Tulare Basin.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the Central Valley on Tuesday to see the flooding of the Tulare Basin.

Storms across California brought water levels we haven't seen in nearly four decades.

The winter of 1982-83 was the last time we saw water going into the Tulare Lake basin.

The lake was known in the late 1800s as the largest freshwater lake in the western United States.

"We are in a situation now where we just go day to day and don't know what is going to happen and it's a little worrisome," said Rafael Diaz, a foreman at Hansen Ranches.

Diaz was able to talk directly to Newsom, who spent most of his day touring three impacted locations.

Newsom first visited Allensworth, where he sat down with community members who have advocated for the historic area since the flooding started about a month and a half ago.

Tulare Lake was known in the late 1800s as the largest fresh water lake in the western United States.

Residents explained the continued hardships after they lost their homes, and others came very close to losing theirs.

Dennis Hutson, a local pastor, lives in Allensworth and also made a passionate plea for more support with long-term solutions.

"We need infrastructure that is going to take care of this once and for all," said Dennis Hutson.

The governor's second stop was at the Avenue 56 Project, where about two miles of the road was elevated five feet.

The intention is to create a reliable pathway for the Alpaugh community, which is currently surrounded by floodwater.

Newsom ended his day by touring Hansen Ranches, where miles of land are under feet of water.

Diaz also spoke up about the ongoing impact of flooding on farmworkers.

"Employees as well have been concerned about what is going to happen and what is the next step," said Diaz.

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