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Huge Support For State Water Cuts

San Francisco, CA —  A new poll found the public supports the Governor’s 25% statewide reduction, but acknowledges cutting back on water use will be difficult.

A new study by The Field Poll, which surveyed 1,664 Californians in six languages, conducted to assess the public’s views about the state’s ongoing drought, found most people understand that the water shortage is critical.

Here are the survey’s top findings, as outlined by The Field Poll:

  • Nearly nine in ten residents (89%) believe the current water shortage is serious, and two in three (66%) term it extremely serious. This is a significantly higher level of concern than found by The Field Poll during the state’s last serious drought in 1977.
  • By a nearly three-to-one margin (65% to 23%) Californians support Governor Jerry Brown’s call to require urban water districts to reduce their water use by an average of 25% statewide. Support for the Governor’s plan is broad-based and bipartisan, and spans all major subgroups of the state’s adult population.
  • However, greater than four in ten of the state’s homeowners (44%) say they would find it difficult to reduce their household’s own water use if asked to do so by their local water district. The proportion saying this increases to 48% among high-income homeowners, who are the biggest per capita residential consumers of water.
  • Seven in ten homeowners (70%) also say that it would be a serious problem for them if their local water district increased their water bill by 15% or 25%. This includes 30% who say this would be a very serious problem for them and 40% who say it would be somewhat serious. Just 27% say this would not cause them a serious problem. Upper income homeowners are much less sensitive to rate hikes of this magnitude. Among homeowners with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more, just 18% say increasing their water bill by this amount would be a very serious problem for them, while 44% say this would not cause a serious problem for them.
  • A 57% majority of Californians believes that the state’s agricultural users can reduce the amount of water they use by changing crops and using water more efficiently without creating real hardships. This is greater than twice the proportion (26%) who believes they cannot.