As California enters what is expected to be the fourth year of a punishing drought, a newly released poll has some interesting news. While virtually all Californians surveyed indicate that the state’s water situation is serious, the majority of residents still favor voluntary rather than mandatory restrictions.

The survey results are part of a larger report by the Field Research Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan firm based in San Francisco. (You can access the full report here.) Basic findings?


Nearly unanimous view that state’s water shortage is serious. Growing concern about adequacy of the water storage and supply facilities. Support for developing water storage on government lands.


Lisa Krieger (@lisamkrieger) reports for the San Jose Mercury News:


“One silver lining of this severe drought is that it has raised Californians’ awareness of the importance of our water supplies,” said Ellen Hanak of the Public Policy Institute of California. Passage of the state bond measure means that “funds will support more conservation, more use of treated wastewater and stormwater, and more effective storage both above and below ground. We can make these investments in ways that protect California’s economy, society, and environment.”

As might be expected, there were sectional differences, with Bay Area and Southland voters differing as to the seriousness of the drought. Those surveyed throughout the state, however, rejected the idea of mandatory measures.

“For some, it means government intrusion in everyday life,” said [Mark] DeCamillo. “It is interesting that even here in the Bay Area, which is more Democratic and liberal, voluntary cutbacks are still the preferred method.”


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