On April 23, the San Diego County Water Authority released results of a survey conducted last month in which 700 county residents were asked about water-supply awareness, conservation measures, restrictions, and the development of additional water sources.
“This survey shows the people in San Diego County are aware and concerned about our continued water-supply challenges,” stated Carlsbad mayor and water authority board chairman Claude “Bud” Lewis in a press release. “It also shows that residents support investment in projects to enhance the region’s water-supply reliability.”
Here are some of the findings from the survey:
*95 percent of residents said they were aware that San Diego County faces a potentially significant water shortage; 87 percent viewed the problem as long-term.
*92 percent felt saving water is “a civic responsibility. Water conservation was seen as a duty on par with preventing litter/pollution and with recycling used materials, as a greater responsibility than serving on a jury, and less of a responsibility than voting in elections.”
*The majority of respondents believe seawater desalination is the “single most important thing that can be done to ensure a safe and reliable water supply.”
*60 percent of respondents said they would vote in favor of additional property tax increases — up to $20 per month — as funding for alternative water-supply projects.
*Lastly, about potable reuse (often referred to as “toilet to tap”): “Support for using recycled water as part of the region’s drinking water supply has increased substantially since 2005, the last time it was asked in the Water Authority’s public opinion poll. About 63 percent of respondents in 2009 favored adding recycled water that had received advanced treatment to drinking water supplies, compared to only 28 percent in 2005.”
As for the section of the survey that dealt with potable reuse, the survey revealed that 85 percent of subjects said they know recycled water is currently used for irrigation and freeway landscaping throughout the county; 90 percent are “strongly in favor” of using reclaimed water for non-drinking purposes; 3 percent staunchly opposed it.
The survey indicated 53 percent of those polled said recycled water can be made safe enough to drink.
The survey broke down the numbers along race and gender lines. Asian Americans rank the highest — at 63 percent — in believing recycled water can be made potable. Whites were next at 53 percent, Hispanics at 48 percent, and African Americans came in at 44 percent.
Gender-wise, males were 17 percent more likely than females in accepting the notion that recycled water could be treated sufficiently for consumption.
To read the entire survey, go to the San Diego County Water Authority website at sdcwa.org and click on the tab for news and publications.