Californians Back Fee to Fix Statewide Drinking Water Problems

Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith
California Water Foundation

Californians have an intense concern about the potential for drinking water contamination and strongly support the bipartisan efforts by state and local governments to address it, according to a poll released today by FM3 Research for the broad coalition of more than 110 public health, agricultural, and environmental justice groups behind Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to create a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund in this year’s budget.

Voters hold water agencies accountable for action to ensure state drinking water and would also like to see their state legislator act to provide funding to improve water quality. Voters are also willing to do their own part to support such actions. In fact, an overwhelming number of voters are willing to pay an additional $1 on their monthly water bills if it will help ensure safe drinking water in communities around the state.

Among the findings:

  • Nearly four in five (79%) have concerns about water quality problems in the state;
  • Fully 81% of voters are familiar with Flint, Michigan’s water problems – nearly 4 years since the issue came to light nationally;
  • More than two-thirds (69%) would be willing to pay as much as an additional $1 per month on their water bill to fix unsafe levels of contamination with 45% “very willing.” A strong majority would be willing to pay even more – up to $2 per month.
  • Three in five (61%) of voters support the creation of a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. The support is widespread across major demographic and geographic categories including 77% of urban voters, 65% of voters of color and 60% of white voters, and majorities in every region of the state, including 64% in the Central Valley.

Taken together, these findings clearly demonstrate that Californians are highly concerned with maintaining access to safe drinking water, and support the goals of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund as well as the funding mechanism it specifies.

The study was conducted February 17-21, 2018 in 600 telephone in interviews and English and Spanish with likely November 2018 voters. The margin of sampling error for the study is +/-4.0%.

A comprehensive polling memo is available here.

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