Vast majority of California voters rank drought as most critical issue facing the state
California voters are more concerned about the drought than any other major issue, and an overwhelming majority favor strategies to stretch local water supplies, including recycling, rainwater harvesting and efficiency measures, as the top solution to California’s water woes, according to a new poll  conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
By a margin of 74% to 17%, Californians think the best way to deal with the drought is to develop local supplies of water rather than expand water imports. Furthermore, 77% of voters would be willing to pay more on their water bill in order to increase sustainable local water supplies.
Californians overwhelmingly agree that the crisis is urgent and all water users need to play a part:
- 92% agree that “California is currently in the middle of severe drought.”
- 92% agree that “all Californians — including farmers — need to do their part to conserve water now.”
- 82% agree that “California’s water supply problems are so severe that we need to make investments now to deal with them.”
The poll also found that a strong majority of Californians support — and are willing to pay for — a range of local water resiliency efforts:
- 74% say cleaning up locally contaminated groundwater is a very important water supply solution and 71% would pay more on their water bill for it.
- 71% say investing in new water efficiency technologies is a very important water supply solution and 75% would pay more on their water bill for it.
- 69% say capturing rainwater for local use is a very important water supply solution and 74% would pay more on their water bill for it.
- 64% say building local water recycling plants is a very important water supply solution and 74% would pay more on their water bill for it.
Additionally, California voters were polled on the potential scenarios for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, and 85% of voters preferred diversified approaches that include water efficiency, conservation and water recycling efforts. Only 10% favor a tunnel-only approach.
FM3 conducted the survey from Feb. 1 to 9, 2014. It included 1,000 telephone interviews with California voters likely to cast ballots in November 2014.