Residents and activists ask for more help to fight flooding in Lamont

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At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, concerned Kern residents from many of the county’s Latino communities asked for more street lights, a spray park, traffic lights, even a soccer field.

But the consistent flooding in Arvin and Lamont was at the front of many minds.

“Last year, students weren’t able to go to school because it was flooded,” said Patricia Leal-Gutierrez from the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

“Our community was basically cut off the main route to get to Bakersfield,” said Tim Prado of Lamont.

The problem stems from the eastern ‘Caliente Watershed.’

When that floods, the Caliente Creek rushes water right towards Lamont.

In March, 17 News watched the county race to divert the flood water.

Months later in just about the same spot, vehicles can pass through, but parts of [Malaga] road are very chewed up after the weather. 

Some heavily trafficked roads however have been recently paved.

While others are homes for debris and trash.

In 2016 the supervisors commissioned a study, which offers solutions to manage flood waters in the Arvin and Lamont area.

The supervisors have had that study for a year, but Public Works Director Craig Pope told 17 News Wednesday they are still looking for sources of funding.

“I think in a matter of minutes we counted 145 potholes, I mean to me it was almost like a war zone,” said Supervisor David Couch, whose district newly includes Lamont and other Latino areas after a redistricting lawsuit.

“It was literally the worst road system in the county,” he added.

“What we want to see is [that] the board of supervisors along with the different departments are working together to make sure we are allocating funds for long term solutions for flooding issues,” said Leal-Gutierrez.

Pope was asked to give an update on solutions to this years-old problem in the coming weeks.

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