Californians Want to Fix the Drought—Without Spending Any Money

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/fikretonal/2074652627/in/photolist-f74P7E-hSD2EX-6195zk-4ak8WT-j4N5N9-chsPzE-6xJGi7-6fgMgq-4s3t9T-2H682n-6xJESb-6xJEoL-4UJLAF-kTfh2D-efDDs8-efKmgN-4rzdGu-brBMs1-7nNkLa-kTfaev-9Ycd5N-bukTnu-6xEw92-9YFKFr-59E194-33TuUs-zrFHT-bWcEab-4apc3Q-4awWcR-4apaZJ-4tC21V-5pJAgJ-5pEgtT-4qc4Tm-6xJF7q-nknAGD-zrFKU-6xEv8T-9dh9Ff-6Lb3eY-61mVDB-np5ZxG-nv1GRY-4bfHTL-fC991c-5YNu5h-dCTxQg-6xJCZC-b7DWTT/">Fikret Onal</a>/Flickr


Californians agree their state’s drought is a big problem, but they’re not enthused about spending money to alleviate it. That’s one of the takeaways from a just-released University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times poll. Some other findings:

Big problem, getting bigger

Just prior to California’s last gubernatorial election in November 2010, 46 percent of voters agreed that “having enough water to meet our future needs” mattered “a great deal.” The proportion of people who care a lot about water issues has crept up a lot since then:

  • Last September, 63 percent of voters called the drought a “crisis or major problem.”
  • 89 percent of voters call the drought a “crisis or major problem” now.
     

Save us some water, just don’t send us the bill

Californians are notoriously tax averse, but even what may be the worst drought in 500 years is apparently not enough to get most voters to agree that the state should improve its water infrastructure: 

  • 36 percent of voters said the state should improve water storage and delivery systems, even if it costs money.
  • 52 percent said the state should address these problems without spending money, by taking measures like encouraging conservation.
     

Poorer people and Latinos are feeling harder hit

The poll found:

  • 11 percentof people making more than $50,000 annually said the drought had a “major impact” on their lives.
  • 24 percent of people making less than $50,000 annually said the same. 
  • 29 percent of people making less than $20,000 annually said the same.

It’s worth noting that some of California’s poorest people are Hispanic farm workers. While 25 percent of Latinos surveyed said the drought had a “major impact” on their lives, just 13 percent of people from other racial groups said the same. 

Climate denial

A recent study has linked the drought to climate change, but some Californians still aren’t so sure about the connection. While 78 percent of Democrats said climate change was “very or somewhat responsible” for California’s water trouble, only 44 percent of Republicans agreed. 

THANK YOU.

We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.