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Trump has a conspiracy theory on California’s drought—and a risky solution

'We're going to start opening up the water.'


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Posted on May 28, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 5:03 pm CDT

For any other candidate, denying that a drought exists in California might be a big blow. But Donald Trump, who believes that global warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese, is not like any other candidate.

California, which suffered one of its driest years ever in 2015, has a big primary vote coming up on June 7. Trump has already all but locked up the Republican nomination but the event is still a major spotlight for a candidate who knows how to grab attention.

The Donald seized the moment at his Fresno rally to unveil a plan to get water to farmers in the Central Valley, claiming that the drought was a state concocted conspiracy in which wildlife preservation takes priority over the livelihoods of farmers.

“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,” Trump said.

“If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive,” Trump continued.

As with many of Trump’s plans, the policy was short on details. The presidential hopeful appeared to be honing in on a risky strategy to drain the Sacramento River, which would threaten a wide spectrum of wildlife and potentially threaten the water rights of many people upstream. Those in favor of the move claim that it would relieve the pressure on California’s farmers by giving them more water to work with.

The undeniable scientific fact is that there is a drought in California and has been for five years years. In 2015, the state saw its lowest rain and snowfall in recorded history. 2016 has seen some small improvements in conditions.

The drought has caused the politics of water to skyrocket to the top of California’s list of priorities. Farmers especially, who account for the vast majority of water usage in the state, want more in order to keep up business.

The state of California, the country’s top agricultural producer, has issued several water restrictions in recent years in an attempt to help cope with the problem.

Man-made climate change has widely been counted by scientists as a factor in California’s drought despite Trump’s claims. The fact that he and many of his followers don’t believe man-made climate change exists has no doubt contributes to his idea that the drought itself is not real.

You can learn more about the drought here and here.

Last week, Trump secured the amount of delegates needed to win the Republican presidential nomination.


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*First Published: May 28, 2016, 11:29 am CDT