Support for mandatory water cutbacks is growing

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More than a third of Californians now believe the state should put into place mandatory water restrictions – instead of the voluntary cutbacks that are currently being urged.

The last time California had a major drought – back in the 1970s – just 51 percent of state voters described the situation as “extremely serious.” A new Field Poll says that nearly 70 percent of California voters now view the state’s prolonged dry spell that way.

Along with growing awareness is an increase in support for mandatory water cutbacks: The Field Poll says 34 percent of California voters now favor government-imposed limits on water use. That’s up seven percent from last spring. Support for mandatory cut backs is highest in the Bay Area and Northern California, but it’s also an increasingly popular idea in L.A. County.droughtmap

More than half of state residents – 61 percent – still say the voluntary water use restrictions put into place by Gov. Jerry Brown are the best way to deal with the drought. But so far, state residents have only met the governor’s 20 percent reduction target once – in December, when California received a lot of rain. Some cities, such as San Diego, aren’t waiting for the state to move. They’ve enacted water restrictions on their own.

Meanwhile, concern is also building about the state’s water storage facilities. Three months after voters approved a $7.5 billion-dollar water bond, most say the state’s storage capacity is inadequate, or barely adequate.