(Victor Valley)–Though the economy is the dominant issue for Californians, voters remain concerned about the state’s water supply and agree California should make major investments to upgrade and modernize its water supply system, according to a new statewide survey released today by the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA).
The survey, conducted in late November by Field Research Corporation on behalf of ACWA, found that three in four voters (75%) are concerned about water, with 28% extremely concerned and 47% somewhat concerned. In addition, an overwhelming majority (84%) agrees the state has major water problems and must invest in its water infrastructure to ensure reliable water now and in future years.
Six in 10 voters (62%) believe investing billions of dollars in a state bond package such as the one on the November 2012 ballot would be worth it to ensure reliable water supplies, according to the survey. That figure includes 40% who strongly agree and 22% who somewhat agree.
Mark DiCamillo, senior vice president with Field Research, said the findings indicate water has not dropped off the radar for Californians even as the economy and unemployment dominate headlines and voter concerns.
“You still have a significant majority saying they are concerned about water, even though there are huge concerns about the economy today,” said DiCamillo, who has surveyed Californians regarding water and other issues for over 20 years. “There is also a core base of support for investing public dollars in upgrading and expanding the state’s water system through a water bond. That base is about 40%, with another 22% that is sympathetic and inclined to feel that way. ”
The survey showed that by a margin of 55% to 41%, more voters take the view that now is a good time to invest in water infrastructure projects to create jobs than believe the state should not commit large sums of public money until the financial picture improves.
ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn said the findings indicate that Californians see the link between investing in water infrastructure and job creation.
“At a time when the public is hypersensitive about how dollars are spent, investing in water infrastructure may be in a class by itself because water is seen as such an essential service and a critical part of our economy and jobs,” Quinn said.
The survey findings will be valuable in the coming months as policy makers in the Brown Administration and elsewhere assess strategies for financing California’s water future. “It is very encouraging to know that Californians are still supportive of making investments in our water infrastructure,” Quinn said.