Most respondents statewide said they knew nothing about the Delta or hadn’t heard of it
Quick: What is the Sacramento Delta?
Not where. What. According to a new statewide poll commissioned by Southern California water interests, three out of four surveyed could not answer that question correctly…or at all. This despite the fact that the maze of channels around the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin River is a crucial cog in the water supply of 25 million Californians and the subject of intense, ongoing political and legal skirmishes.
According to Probolsky Research, which conducted the survey, 78% of respondents statewide said they either knew nothing about the Delta or hadn’t heard of it. About four percent knew that it plays a role in supporting endangered fish species, but only 2.3% cited the Delta as a “source of water.” (The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%). Water from California’s northern rivers is funneled from the Delta to serve thirsty customers as far south as San Diego.
At least one recorded response was that the Delta is “the oil line from Canada to the United States,” an apparent confusion with the highly publicized Keystone XL pipeline proposal. Despite the sketchy notions that Californians appear to have about the Delta, a significant majority in the survey (60.4%) said they support or were leaning in favor of the multi-billion-dollar bond for water improvements set to appear on the statewide ballot in November. About a third said they would “definitely vote yes” were the election held today.
In the same survey, the environment scored a meager three percent when respondents were asked to name the “most important issue facing your community.” Jobs (53.5%), public safety (14.3), government (13.5) and education (10.7) were the only issues cited by more than ten percent of respondents.