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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Video: Trump’s Drought Claims

This week CNN’s Jake Tapper takes a look at Donald Trump’s misleading claims about California’s drought and water management issues.

At a May 27 rally in Fresno, California, Trump suggested “there is no drought” in California because the state has “plenty of water.” But California is in its fifth year of a severe “hot” drought, the kind that’s expected to become more frequent with global warming. The current drought is unique because, in addition to low levels of precipitation, 2014 and 2015 were the two warmest years on record in the state. Scientists call the combination of dry and hot conditions a “hot” drought.

Trump also said water is being shoved “out to sea” to protect a “three-inch fish” at the expense of farmers. But officials release fresh water from reservoirs primarily to prevent salt water from contaminating agricultural and urban water supplies. In fact, researchers at the Public Policy Institute of California estimated that 71 percent released fresh water from reservoirs was needed for urban and farm water salinity control, while 18 percent was required to preserve fish habitat.

Tapper’s latest video is part of our collaboration with CNN’s State of the Union. It’s based on our SciCheck article, “Trump’s Dubious Drought Claims.”