Overwhelming majority of Arizonans support action on water, according to new poll

A new public opinion poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Arizonans are concerned with Arizona’s water supply and would support major investments in conservation.

Eighty-six percent of those polled responded that they are either very or somewhat concerned about Arizona’s water supply, with nearly the same percentage saying they believe “substantial investments in water conservation right now are key to Arizona’s economic well-being for the next five years.”

Respondents also want the state Legislature to act. More than 90% of respondents said it is important for the state Legislature to address the state’s water issues. 

If the Legislature were to act in the waning days of the legislative session, Arizonans like what they’ve heard from the Governor’s Office.

Nearly 75% of those polled said they would support a proposal to invest $1 billion in a series of projects to conserve surface and groundwater and create new sources of water. 

Gov. Doug Ducey in his State of the State address in January said water would be a priority for him in 2022 and called for investing $1 billion to secure the state’s water future for the next century. 

“With resources available in our budget, a relationship with Mexico that we’ve built and strengthened over the last seven years, and the need is clear – what better place to invest more. Instead of just talking about desalination – the technology that made Israel the world’s water superpower – how about we pave the way to make it actually happen? So, Speaker Bowers, President Fann and I have been working, and we propose that we make a historic investment: $1 billion,” he said.

Creating a new statewide water authority also earned strong support. Seventy percent of respondents said they support the creation of such an entity that would “oversee opening up new water sources for Arizona from outside the state and developing new conservation projects within Arizona.”

Pollster George Khalaf said the strongly bipartisan results point to an urgency among voters.

“Both parties want lawmakers and the governor to act quickly on water,” he said. “When nearly 90% of voters say they’re concerned about an issue, not only should leaders take notice, but they can act with confidence that their voters support them. When it comes to water security, Arizona voters know we can’t wait any longer.”

Water stewardship has been a major theme of Ducey’s tenure as governor.

The budget that passed in 2021 invested $200 million in the water technology of the future, including $160 million for large, statewide water augmentation projects.

Ducey last October announced a $30 million investment to help keep the Lake Mead reservoir from descending to critical levels, a major step forward in the long-running effort to protect the Colorado River system.

The poll, conducted by the firm Data Orbital, contacted 550 registered voters between May 14 and May 16. The poll has a 4.26 margin of error.

Robert Clarke

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