Wildfires continue to scorch forests in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, and a persistent drought in the region has exacerbated the damage and threat to populated areas.
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.
Four months ago, after wild fires destroyed hundreds of homes in Sonoma County, many low-income seniors were left without homes and placed in temporary housing. Many have yet to find permanent lodging, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.