Survey reports L.A. area residents support ocean-water desalination

A fall 2008 telephone survey queried South Bay residents about water issues, and found that 75% support ocean-water desalination as one of the area's future water supply sources, along with additional conservation and water recycling. The random sample telephone survey was conducted for West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) by the Voter Consumer Research firm out of Washington, D.C...

Dec 30th, 2008

CARSON, CA, Dec. 22, 2008 -- A fall 2008 telephone survey queried South Bay residents about water issues, and found that 75% support ocean-water desalination as one of the area's future water supply sources, along with additional conservation and water recycling. The random sample telephone survey was conducted for West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) by the Voter Consumer Research firm out of Washington, D.C. A statewide survey in 2002, also commissioned by West Basin, found that 70% of those surveyed supported ocean-water desalination.

When it came to making a choice between continuing to rely on imported water and developing new, locally-controlled and sustainable sources of water, an overwhelming majority -- 83% of respondents -- wanted local sources of water to be expanded.

"The strong public support of creating locally-controlled, reliable water supplies, including ocean-water desalination, is good news for West Basin because that is what we do," said Donald L. Dear, President of West Basin Municipal Water District. "Our plan," Dear continued, "is to cut our dependence on imported water, which is vulnerable to rationing by half of today's amount, by 2020."

When presented with various alternatives to developing local supplies, 93% of area citizens wanted more voluntary conservation, 79% supported purifying wastewater for irrigation and to replenish groundwater supplies and 75% supported ocean-water desalination.

86% of respondents thought that current water supplies were not a problem or were a minor problem, but when asked about future supplies, a significant majority -- 68% -- thought future water supplies would be a major problem in the Los Angeles area. A slight majority of survey participants -- 54% -- thought we should expand water supplies rather than limiting growth by maintaining current supplies of water.

When asked about increasing the cost of water to improve water reliability, a little over 50% of respondents said they would be willing to invest in local water reliability to get the area through a three-year drought. The amount they would be willing to pay ranged from 2% to 10% more, through a parcel assessment rather than higher water bills. The survey was conducted August 10-18, 2008.

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