A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that 54 percent of Californians say the water supply is a big problem where they live, and 75 percent support regulations on water usage.
When asked an open-ended question about important environmental issues facing the state, 35 percent of respondents cite the water supply as the most important issue. PPIC notes that is a 27 percent jump from 2011 and represents, “the first time in environmental surveys dating back to 2000 that air pollution has not been the top issue.”
Support for restrictions on water use is highest in Los Angeles, where it hits 80 percent. The poll did not specify any particular types of restriction that might be put in place. The state has already cut back on water for parks, putting up signs that read, “Brown is the New Green.”
Last week, the state water board voted to put in place a $500 fine for anyone found soaking their lawn or washing their car with an open-ended hose. Felicia Marcus, the board’s chairwoman, said at the time, “Having a dirty car and a brown lawn should be a badge of honor, because it shows you care about your community.”
Cindy Aisenbrey doesn’t think the state has gone far enough. She recalls more severe restrictions on water use during the last severe drought. She told the San Jose Mercury News, “Back then, no one served water at restaurants. Water was restricted everywhere.”
Kevin Jackson, a resident of Sunnyvale, agrees. He told the Mercury News, “You need to make the rules compulsory, or a significant portion of people won’t do what needs to be done.”
As for the cause of the current drought, a majority of Californians surveyed blame natural weather patterns (51%) while slightly more than a third (38%) blame global warming.