Nearly two in three Californians call the state’s current four-year drought “extremely serious,” and nearly nine in ten (86 percent) plan to permanently reduce the amount of water they use, even after the drought ends, according to a poll that came out Thursday.
The latest Field Poll finds that 62 percent of likely California voters would classify the drought as “extremely serious,” down slightly from the 68 percent who said the same in a February 2015 poll and the 76 percent in October 2015.
Three of four voters (74 percent) believe it is important to continue to find ways to reduce water consumption both inside and outside the home, while a staggering 86 percent of state residents plan to permanently reduce their water usage even after shortage problems end.
The poll was conducted among a random sampling of 800 registered California voters.
Respondents were also asked what specific steps they believe are important to reduce water consumption. In one of the more surprising findings in the poll, just 45 percent said it is very important to make permanent changes to outdoor landscaping by replacing water-intensive plants with drought-resistant varieties or artificial grass.
Replacing landscaping with drought-resistant alternatives or letting lawns simply go brown is one of the most effective ways to conserve water, particularly during the hot summer months. This is evidenced by the fact that the statewide conservation rate fell sharply from summer into winter as the potential savings on outdoor watering evaporated with the arrival of winter rains.
Meanwhile, 52 percent of those surveyed said it is very important for homeowners to upgrade their toilets and appliances with more water-efficient models, and nearly six in ten voters (59 percent) said that rebates for these water-efficient appliances offered by the state’s water agencies are very important.
California is on the precipice of entering a fifth straight year of drought. Reservoirs in the north have slowly filled, but below-average Sierra Nevada snowpack levels and excessive groundwater pumping remain significant impediments to ending statewide water shortages.