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Normally, when underwater, bludgeoning/slashing melee attacks take a -2 penalty, bludgeoning/slashing ranged attacks automatically miss, and fire actions can't be used at all.
The Gather Element action specifically lets a kineticist gather fire and use fire impulses underwater, but it doesn't do anything to help use water impulses underwater. A fire Elemental Blast can be used with no penalty underwater since it doesn't deal bludgeoning/slashing damage, but a Water Elemental blast takes the full penalties.
There's a level 4 water impulse feat, Return to the Sea, that lets a creature ignore the underwater penalties for bludgeoning/slashing attacks. Not only do you need to invest in that feat, it also takes 3 actions to use.
Please either give water impulses a general exception to the underwater fighting penalties, or update the Water trait to allow attacks with that trait to ignore underwater fighting penalties.