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Water survey results reassure California farmers

by Chris Hinyub, published

The economy still trumps all other issues, but a recent statewide poll conducted by the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) reveals that 75% of registered voters are concerned about the state’s water supply and an even larger percentage (84%) say that investing in the state’s water storage and delivery system is necessary to ensure a reliable supply of water in the future. This is great news for farmers and the state’s largest farm water organization.

"Even after two years of normal rainfall that followed several years of drought and water delivery cutbacks to farmers and urban water users alike, California voters recognize the need to improve our water supply system," California Farm Water Coalition (CFWC) executive director Mike Wade said in a statement to Western Farm Press. The CFWC represents more than 5 million of the 8 million irrigated acres in California.

For Timothy Quinn, Executive Director of ACWA, the link between an improved water infrastructure and the state’s economy isn’t lost on voters.

“At a time when the public is hypersensitive about how dollars are spent, investing in water infrastructure may be in a class by itself because water is seen as such an essential service and a critical part of our economy and jobs,” Quinn said.

A proposed water bond package scheduled for the November 2012 ballot aims to raise billions of dollars to improve the state’s water delivery system as well as facilitate research on increasing storage, which would be a huge boon to farmers.

"Water supplies that were reduced to farmers because of the recent drought and environmental regulations emphasize the need to improve our delivery system," said Wade, adding "The result was over a quarter-million acres of productive farmland went barren and farmworkers lost their jobs. That was bad news for a struggling California economy."

According to the ACWA survey, 62% of voters would be willing to invest in the bond measure, despite a slumping economy.

In response to last month's poll of 1,000 residents, President of the California Farm Bureau Federation Paul Wenger said:

“We’re encouraged to see that Californians remain committed to improving our water system. Investing in new storage and other improvements to the water system will benefit everyone who depends on California‐grown food and will help assure a secure economy for our state.”

For more details on the poll click here.

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