Water shortages and drought are California’s biggest environmental concern, new poll shows

After the two driest consecutive years in much of California in nearly half a century, reservoir levels are dropping. Lawns are brown. Water restrictions are increasing. And Californians are getting worried.

Asked to name the environmental issue they are most concerned about, more California residents cited water shortages and drought than any other, according to a new poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan research organization in San Francisco.

Overall, 25% of California adults named water shortages and drought as the most important environmental issue currently facing the state. Not far behind, 17% named wildfires, followed by 13% who cited climate change and 6% who named air pollution. A year ago, just 10% named water and drought as the state’s top environmental challenge.

“The drought has come back with great force in California,” said Mark Baldassare, director of the PPIC Statewide Survey. “We’ve seen a big change in just one year in terms of how many people say it’s a big problem. There’s no escaping it wherever you live in California.”

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