From Commentary from  Senator Alvarado-Gil, Assemblyman Heath Flora, and Assemblywoman Esmeralda Soria – We all know it. You shouldn’t wait to close the barn door until after the horse has bolted.  That’s an important lesson for Central Valley communities today. California didn’t experience floods this past winter like we did in 2023. But given that the legislature is writing a bond now, this is the time to speak up to keep our communities safe from catastrophic flooding in the future. A flooded street in Merced County on Jan. 11, 2023. A year and a half ago, the town of Planada was hit by a devastating flood. When a debris-clogged Miles Creek overflowed, the resulting flood hit like a gut-punch. UC Merced researchers found that 83 percent of all households suffered, and many lost everything. “These were more than houses,” one anguished resident told the media, “they were symbols of a lifetime of hard work.” Climate models predict future floods could be up to five times larger than the historic 1997 flood that drowned nearly 300 square miles of the state. And the San Joaquin Valley will be Ground Zero for the worst of it. The worst-case scenario predicts an almost incomprehensible $1 trillion in damages across the state – in what could be one of the biggest natural disasters ever. Most of that damage could happen in the Valley. (more)