Senate Candidates Sound off on Water

By on May 6, 2016
California water crisis

In the U.S. Senate race for Barbara Boxer’s soon-to-be-vacated seat, candidates in both parties have sounded off on various aspects of the California drought. However, recent statements may reveal a knowledge gap between the Democrat and Republican candidates.

In an op-ed published in Breitbart News on April 29, Republican candidate Tom Del Beccaro demonstrated a command of the issues concerning the California water crisis. Del Beccaro wrote that the state’s water shortage was not due to a natural drought – but rather was “the direct result of bad regulations, poor planning, and a generation of politicians unwilling to tackle California’s issues.”

“By leveraging new technologies and common sense water management practices, we can provide more than enough water for all Californians,” he continued. Del Beccaro’s solution to the water crisis, which was formally unveiled at the California Republican Party’s spring convention in April, is a four-pillared approach that includes:

  • Reducing water waste from pipe leaks, which he estimates can be achieved over a period of seven years
  • Tapping into better water recycling practices, i.e. rainwater collection and other “catchment” methods
  • Replenishing the state’s water supply by improving management practices and loosening logging restrictions
  • Harnessing the power of desalination technology to provide cleaner drinking water

“Droughts are part of the climate in California,” Del Beccaro concluded. “They have been, and they always will be. We need to plan for them proactively, instead of merely reacting to the water crises often associated with them.”

The top two Democrats in the race, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, have failed to reveal comprehensive water plans as part of their campaign platforms. Both have spoken extensively on the federal Endangered Species Act, and both have spoken in favor of Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial twin tunnels water-diversion plan.

Harris also showed little to no knowledge of two proposed reservoirs that have been on the radar of the California water community for more than 10 years. Speaking to the Sacramento Bee, Harris said she was “not familiar” with the Sacramento Valley Sites Reservoir. When asked about the Temperance Flat Dam on the San Joaquin River, Harris said it “would be a little more difficult to do.” A spokesperson later clarified that Harris had not reviewed all of the environmental documents and had not taken positions on the proposals yet.