Families Protecting the Valley is an educational non-profit organization dedicated to informing the public about water issues. And it looks like they need a lot of informing if the below poll results are anywhere near accurate. 78% of all Californians don't know what the Delta is. 86% of Southern Californians do not know about the Delta. Some of the verbatim comments from those participating in the poll would be comical if not so absurd. When asked what they knew about the Delta, here are some comments: “If it is the bill about weapons control…Every person in the world should have the right to keep and bear arms.” “He is not a candidate of my concern.” “It is the oil line from Canada to the United States.”
We always knew that most people don't spend a lot of time thinking about their water. They know there's a water problem in California, but don't really think about where their water comes from as long as it flows out of the faucet when they turn it on. We always knew people weren't experts about water. But, we didn't think we had this much work to do to get people educated. We've got a long way to go.
Californians Largely Unaware of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Southern California Water Committee
Los Angeles, CA—The majority of Californians have never heard of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta), according to poll results released by California public opinion research firm Probolsky Research at the Southern California Water Committee’s January 27 Quarterly Meeting.
While the Delta is the core of California’s water delivery system, as well as a key environmental resource, 78 percent of respondents in the statewide survey said they do not know what the Delta is. The survey results underscore the significant need to educate Californians throughout the state about the Delta.Key findings from the survey showed:
• Statewide 78 percent said they did not know what the Delta is.
o 86 percent of Southern Californians did not know about the Delta.
o Nearly 70 percent of respondents outside of Southern California did not know about the Delta.
The survey also tested support for the 2012 water bond, slated for the November statewide ballot, and approximately 60 percent of respondents said they would support the bond.
“With California looking at making major investments in water infrastructure, polling shows that significant education needs to be done about the Delta and our water supply. Regardless of whether voters say they support a bond today, there is clearly a need for greater voter understanding of the role and impact of water infrastructure in the state,” said Adam Probolsky, Chairman & CEO of Probolsky Research.
So What Do Californians Know About the Delta?
“It’s an area where big cities exist.”
“It is the oil line from Canada to the United States.”
“It is about most of our commerce where the ships come.”
“He is not a candidate of my concern.”
“If it is the bill about weapons control…Every person in the world should have the right to keep and bear arms.”
The Delta is the largest estuary on the West Coast and home to unique communities and farming interests, and it currently doubles as the state’s primary water conveyance system, sending freshwater to 25 million Californians throughout Northern, Central and Southern California. The estuary has faced growing dangers during the past few decades, and significant work is being done through the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to determine the best way to manage the Delta and the state’s water system in years to come.
“For more than five years, the state and federal governments, wildlife agencies, water agencies and environmental groups have been studying and planning for the Delta, it’s time we bring that conversation down to the local level,” said Rich Atwater, executive director of the Southern California Water Committee.
“Southern Californians should know that the Delta is very important for our state, not just as a critical aspect of our water system but also as an environmental treasure, home to communities, farms and infrastructure.”
Under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, state and federal agencies, in partnership with public water agencies, key scientists and environmental organizations, are examining multiple options for a new conveyance facility—including a canal or underground tunnel—to separate water supply movement from the fragile Delta environment and weak levee system. The plan, formulated in collaboration and based on sound science, would restore water supplies for the Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California and preserve and enhance natural habitats in the Delta. This long overdue redesign of the water supply system would be one of the largest public works projects in California and construction of a new conveyance facility would be paid for by public water agencies. It is estimated the project could generate up to 130,000 indirect and direct jobs during the seven-year construction period.
A total of 750 surveys were collected from likely voters. A survey of this size yields a margin of error of +/-3.7% with a 95% degree of confidence. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish with voters on both landline and cell phones.
Established in 1984, the Southern California Water Committee is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public education partnership dedicated to informing Southern Californians about our water needs and our state’s water resources. Spanning Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Imperial, Riverside, Ventura and Kern Counties, the SCWC’s members include representatives from business, government, agriculture, water agencies, labor and the general public.
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