Can Trump Deliver More Water to California’s Farmers?

California Drought Lake McClure (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
Justin Sullivan / Getty

President-elect Donald Trump has stated his commitment to helping California’s farmers attain more water, as the Golden State prepares to enter its historic sixth year of a crippling drought, with a federal water policy in place that favors fish over agriculture.

However, the authority of California’s state agencies over the allocation of its water supply — which includes the federal Central Valley Project — remains a staggering obstacle the nation’s 45th president must confront. Particularly, as the Sacramento Bee points out, when it comes to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which is where the endangered Delta smelt primarily reside.

Over a year ago, Fresno County farmer Wayne Western Jr. penned a letter to Trump pleading for help. His farm, like many others in his situation, could go out of business if nothing is done to address the water situation. According to the Bee, Trump replied with a handwritten pledge, writing: “Got it — crazy. If I win, it will be corrected quickly.”

During a trip to Fresno last May, Trump referred to the nearly extinct Delta smelt — which are receiving priority over human beings — criticizing the state’s “water allocation rules that take into account the needs of ‘a certain kind of 3-inch fish,'” the Bee writes.
Trump also raised money from farmers in the Central Valley — a record $1.3 million in August — partly by addressing the water issue.
Trump’s biggest obstacle with regard to the bottlenecks and blocks that have prevented water from going to farmerss in parts of the Golden State that are hardest hit will be tackling the state-run agency known as the State Water Resources Control Board and its four board members.
As the Bee points out, “the water board has strong sway over how much water is pumped out of the Delta.” They are reportedly also in the process of a substantial rewrite of the Golden State’s water allocation policy, with the board indicating that it will likely be more favorable to the Delta’s endangered smelt fish population.
As Breitbart News reported in September: “A new proposal by the California Water Resources Control Board aims to double the amount of water that flows from the San Joaquin River to the delta and the sea, cutting back on allocations for farms and households to save fish.”
Still, farmers in the San Joaquin Valley have reportedly expressed optimism over the prospect of having Trump on their side, following eight years of a Barack Obama presidency that placed the needs of fish over their own. The Bee notes that signs reading “Another Farmer for Trump” popped up throughout the San Joaquin Valley during the presidential campaign.
In April of 2015, former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina had also slammed liberal policies in an op-ed she penned for Time, indicating her belief that human beings are more important than fish.
“Liberals love to tell us how much they care,” she wrote. “What they never mention is the crushed potential of those whose livelihoods their policies have destroyed.”
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz


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