Rivers throughout Colorado, Utah and Wyoming are receiving abundant water from strong winter snowpack, easing drought fears but also pushing water over river banks.
By some estimates, more than 1,000 families are still homeless around Paradise in rural Butte County after losing their homes in the Camp Fire wildfires, contributing to a growing homelessness crisis.
The rain and snow that typically nourish the Colorado River, which in turn serves as the most important water source for the American Southwest, have been abysmal this year, and meteorologists are warning of a permanent shift in the area’s weather patterns.
Californians in the Central Valley still struggle with effects from the five-year drought. For some, that means dry wells and a high price tag to repair or replace them.
In Fresno County one resident’s well went dry two years ago and she’d been refilling 25 gallon jugs at a friend’s house until last year when Self-Help Enterprises helped her access a refillable water tank for household water use. The tank is provided through a state-funded program for emergency drinking water assistance.
According to some climate researchers, California may be at risk for flooding – or, as they call it, “precipitation whiplash,” whereby drought and extreme downpours alternate.