LOS ANGELES - As California continues to deal with its record-breaking drought, more voters are inclined to vote for the $11.1 billion water bond set for the November ballot than were a year ago, according to a recent survey.
The Public Policy Institute of California, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, released the statewide survey on Wednesday.
"The percentage of Californians saying that water supply is big problem in their region has reached a new high," said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. "Nearly all state residents say that they are doing something to reduce water use as a response to this historic drought, while support for an $11.1 billion state water bond hovers at around 50 percent among likely voters."
The survey found that 60% of adults and 50% of likely voters would vote for the water bond. That compares to last March, when 44% of adults and 42% of likely voters said they would vote yes.
When those who oppose the bond were asked how they would vote if the amount were lower, support rises to 69% of adults and 59% of likely voters.
The $11 billion measure, called the Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act, would authorize funding for the state's aging water infrastructure and new projects to address the ecosystem and water supply issues.
About $4 billion would be allocated to local resources and development, $4 billion for ecosystem restoration, and $3 billion for the public benefits associated with new surface and groundwater storage projects.
The measure was originally scheduled to go on the 2010 ballot, but was postponed until 2012, and then delayed again until 2014.
Opponents have said the bond is too large, full of earmarks, and would fail to garner a majority of voters' support. However, the PPIC survey has indicated a shift in voter sentiment, with majorities across regions characterizing their area's water supply as a big problem.
According to the survey, 55% of residents say water supply is a big problem. In contrast, 44% of Californians expressed this view in December 2009 during another drought.
Many lawmakers are attempting to lower the bond amount, as four competing bond measures—ranging from $5 billion to $9 billion—are currently making way through the state legislature.