At a campaign rally in Fresno, California on Friday presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told the crowd of supporters that the state does not have a water drought, but in fact has plenty of water:
“We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane. It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea.”
Fast-forward to 9:07 in the video at the top of this post to hear Trump talk about the water crisis.
Trump stated further:
And I just met with a lot of the farmers, who are great people, and they’re saying “We don’t even understand it,” they don’t understand it, nobody understands it. And I’ve heard this from other friends of mine in California where they have farms up here and they don’t get water. I said, “oh, that’s too bad, is it a drought?” “No, we have plenty of water” and I said “Well what’s wrong?” and they said “Well we shove it out to sea.” And I said “Why?” And nobody even knows why and the environmentalists don’t know why. Now they’re trying to protect a certain kind of three-inch fish.
According to the United States Drought Monitor, the state of California is in the fifth year of its worst drought in history. On January 17, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a statewide drought emergency, asking residents to voluntarily reduce their use of water. Then in 2015, Brown ordered a 25 percent reduction in water use by towns and cities state-wide. The state of emergency has yet to be lifted.
The issue of water allocation has politicians split, even within parties, reports TheHill. The agricultural industry in California uses the greatest share of water according to the state drought website, accounting for 31 percent in 2006 and 48 percent in 2007. Farmers criticize the state’s perceived prioritization of water resources to environmental issues, specifically the protection of the Delta Smelt, the “three-inch fish” to which Trump made brief mention, which is at risk for extinction due in part to the drought and diversion of water resources. Claiming that he will fix the water problem may help Trump appeal to frustrated farmers ahead of California’s primary on June 7th.
Trump’s statements earned a mocking retort from Bernie Sanders at the hopeful Democratic presidential nominee’s own campaign rally in California on Sunday:
“You see, we don’t fully appreciate the genius of Donald Trump, who knows more than all the people of California, knows more than all the scientists.”
Fast-forward to 16:30 to hear Sanders response to Trump’s drought claim.