The San Diego County Water Authority is upgrading the All-American Canal to increase water supplies from sources other than the Metropolitan Water District. Photo courtesy water authority
The San Diego County Water Authority is upgrading the All-American Canal to increase water supplies from sources other than the Metropolitan Water District. Photo courtesy water authority

A majority of residents in the San Diego region say they can conserve more water if the drought worsens, according to a new poll by the San Diego County Water Authority.

Fifty-four percent of respondents strongly or moderately agreed they could do more to conserve water at home, and 62 percent strongly or moderately agreed that water agencies should use mandatory rather than voluntary restrictions during the drought.

In an encouraging sign for San Diego’s ambitious water-recycling program, 73 percent of respondents strongly or moderately favored using advanced treated recycled water as an addition to the drinking water supply.

The water authority said the overall results from the poll indicate that severe drought conditions have translated into a growing appreciation for the value of water across the region.

“These survey results show San Diego County’s residents are highly engaged in water issues and understand that a reliable water supply is critical for our region’s $206 billion economy and our quality of life,” said Mark Weston, chair of the water authority’s board.

“They agree that using water efficiently is a civic duty that we all share, and they realize that our region must continue to diversify our supplies while taking aggressive actions to conserve. These attitudes and opinions inspire confidence that together we can get through this drought.”

For more than 15 years, the water authority has performed periodic public opinion research to determine San Diego County residents’ knowledge and attitudes regarding water issues. The latest poll of 1,000 adults in San Diego County was conducted by Probe Research from March 16 to April 1, the day Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order that mandated 25 percent water-use reductions statewide.

Snow water content in the Sierra Nevada snowpack on April 1 was just 5 percent of its historical average — the lowest since snowpack records began in 1950 — which means there will be no significant runoff during the summer and fall when California’s water demands typically increase.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.