Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) today released the following statement in response to Donald Trump’s claim that “there is no drought.”
“On Friday, Donald Trump made another outrageous statement: He said California is not in a drought. Let me be clear, California isn’t only in a drought, it’s in an historic drought that continues to devastate our land and economy. And what help we got from the El Niño wasn’t nearly enough.
“At the peak of the drought, almost 70 communities faced water supply and water quality problems and more than 2,500 wells were critically low or dry. That means 13,000 residents had either unsafe water or no water at all.
“Last year, the drought hit California’s economy to the tune of $2.7 billion and 21,000 lost jobs. $1.8 billion of those losses were in the agricultural sector.
“With more than 1 million acres of farmland fallowed in 2015, many farmworkers simply couldn’t find jobs. Many were forced out of their homes, and some traveled to distant states to find work to support their children.
“California is so dry the land is actually sinking. Subsidence from pumping too much groundwater has led to the San Joaquin Valley dropping by as much as two inches a month, putting a major strain on our infrastructure.
“And with 50 million trees dead or dying and nearly 900 million more losing canopy cover and drying out, the risk of a cataclysmic fire season is higher than ever.
“Experts say the Sierra snowpack needs to be at least 150 percent of average for us to have a chance of escaping this drought. Today, the snowpack is less than 30 percent of normal for this time of year.
“So to Donald Trump I say yes, California is in a drought. And there’s no simple solution. A cursory understanding of the law and the politics surrounding California water makes that abundantly clear.
“I’m hopeful that the bill we’ve been working on in the Senate—which received a hearing earlier this month—will be marked up soon. It includes $1.3 billion to fund longterm projects like storage, desalination and recycling, as well as short-term provisions to help move what water we do have more effectively.
“Combating the drought is hard enough without someone like Donald Trump wading into the middle of it without even the slightest understanding of what he’s talking about. I look forward to working with both parties in the weeks to come as we look for real solutions.”