Allensworth community group bands together to help the community, asks for additional help as the disenfranchised town continues to flood
ALLENSWORTH – As California has received nearly 400% of their average rainfall since late December, areas like the small community of Allensworth, are asking for help as they struggle to stay afloat.
The Allensworth Progressive Association (APA) is working with local residents to lead a protection effort for the community of Allensworth from recent flooding. Recent storms dropping rain and snow over southern Tulare County and associated foothills have produced historic flows to the White River, Deer Creek and Poso Creek. According to Daniel Potter, public information officer with CAL FIRE, the levels of standing water vary from minimal to upwards of five feet deep. However on March 27, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux reduced the evacuation order for Allensworth to a warning, but did issue a boil water notice.
“Please be mindful while you are traveling. There are several areas still under construction and there are several road closures and water on the roadways throughout the county,” a Sheriff department’s Facebook post stated. “An Evacuation Warning means people may return to the area, but should remain prepared to leave if conditions change.”
According to a press release from the APA, the unprecedented risk of flooding, property damage and threat to town safety, prompted the APA and local residents to fight to protect the disenfranchised town of approximately 600 residents. The members of the community then sprang into action clearing obstructions from the same canal which restored the normal flow and relieved the building pressure.
“I will die before I quit,” an Allensworth resident told the crowd at a community meeting, in reference to protecting Allensworth from flooding according to the press release.
The community is looking for help in any way people are willing to give. Anyone looking to donate to the APA for general support can do so via the “Support Allensworth” button on the APA’s official website at www.allensworthpa.org under the fund “floodwatersupport2023”. The community is also looking for donations in several areas including baby supplies like diapers, formula and wipes; menstrual products; septic safe toilet paper; cleaning supplies; hygiene products; soaps and shampoos; pet food; non perishable food items; first aid kits; emergency supplies like generators or flashlights and more. A full list can be found: Allensworth Community Needs List. Members of the public who wish to donate items, may reach out to Valerie Jasso-Gorospe 661-303-1032 and Goana Toscano 661-778-9271, or the general APA Phone number: 559-656-2141.
APA has been in the community daily distributing informational fliers from the Office of Emergency Services, reaching out to other local and state government agencies, politicians and partners to bring resources to Allensworth. APA also convened a community meeting hosted on Friday, March 17, at Allensworth Elementary School. Over 100 community members turned out to hear information from several public safety and service organizations.
A few days after the Friday meeting, the dedication to the community of Allensworth gathered community members again for an impromptu assembly. It grew to 100 residents to hear important information to protect the community.
According to the APA press release, the group established a community command post. Several Allensworth residents, friends and partners formed and served at the post. It was created before they had any outside help, to protect the community and keep Allensworth families safe and property protected.
Despite the best efforts of all involved, the risk of catastrophic flooding to Allensworth remains high as the atmospheric rivers continue to bring warm rains which raise the risk of snowmelt further impacting already stressed waterways. Flooding from this historic snowmelt will continue to be an issue through the spring and into the summer. According to Potter, since last week, CAL Fire has dropped over 3,000 “super sacks” which are providing needed security to breaches and levees near Highway 43 that are causing the flooding.
“Each sack is [filled with] a few tons of sand and [similar materials], per sack,” Potter said. “So you figure how much material that is to reinforce these levees that are either failing or showing some compromise.”
Potter explained that it has even been difficult to get fire crews into the area because of the amount of water. CAL Fire crews will continue to work on making those areas more accessible. Additionally they have been, and will continue, to do aerial and drone assessments to further determine areas of need.
As for the water boil notice, it was issued by Sheriff Boudreaux after a water outage occurred due to a power outage that affected wells 1 and 2. According to the notice sent out by the Sheriff’s department, bacteriological contamination could be introduced to the system when there is no water in the system. As a result of the possibility the State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water as well as the Allensworth CDS Water System are now advising residents to only use boiled tap water or bottled water. Bacteriological sampling will be required to confirm the water is safe to drink again. As of now, they anticipate a two week period of time to test the water.
The community of Allensworth has been working to build traction in the county and bring people to experience and learn about the history the town has to offer. With the help of those in the county, Allensworthhe again continues to make history.