Photo:  Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant

The results of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 2017 public opinion poll are in, and after one of the most severe droughts in California’s history, 83 percent of respondents rated the San Diego region’s water supply as very or somewhat reliable, and 79 percent support the Water Authority’s supply diversification plan, which includes Colorado River water transfers, water-use efficiency and the development of new local water resources, like the construction of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant.

The Water Authority polled 1,001 adults in San Diego County from May 3 to May 25, approximately a month after Governor Jerry Brown ended the statewide drought emergency he declared in 2014. The Water Authority began conducting public opinion research more than 17 years ago to determine local residents’ knowledge and attitudes regarding water issues.

“Coming out of this most recent drought that challenged so many communities across the state, it’s great to see that the public feels more secure about our region’s water supply reliability than before,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board.

“Our residents continue to support supply diversification, are willing to continue to use water efficiently no matter the weather, and recognize the need to ensure ongoing water security for our region’s 3.3 million people and $222 billion economy.”

As state regulators develop a new long-term, statewide policy for regulating water use, poll respondents strongly support taking a balanced approach to water management in California. Two-thirds — 66 percent — indicated the best way for the state to meet future water needs is to both save water and make investments in local supplies. Only 28 percent said the best strategy is to focus principally on saving water.

San Diego County residents also maintain a widespread belief in the need to continue using water efficiently. An overwhelming majority of poll respondents – 92 percent – predicted they will use less or about the same amount of water in 2017 as they did the year before. Only 5 percent predicted they will use more. In addition, 81 percent said water-use efficiency is a civic duty.

What East County Respondents Said


of East County residents feel that tap water is a good or excellent value after learning that it only costs around one cent per gallon.


of East County residents feel that San Diego County’s water supply is very or somewhat reliable.


of East County residents support the Water Authority’s plan to diversify the region’s water resources.


of East County residents agree that a reliable water supply for the region is essential for a healthy economy.


of East County residents said they will use less or about the same amount water in 2017 as they used in 2016.


of East County residents said they are very willing or would consider replacing their turf with a low water use landscape.

Probe Research conducted the 2017 survey by a random telephone sample of 500 respondents (including 150 respondents who only use a mobile phone), and 501 online respondents chosen from a custom panel of San Diego County residents who have agreed to participate in online surveys. All participants were at least 18 years old and had lived in the county for at least one year.

The full results of the 2017 poll and prior polls are available at

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