According to a new survey of San Joaquin Valley residents conducted by the Institute for Leadership and Public Policy at Fresno State, one in five adults, or 21 percent, said that access to clean drinking water is a problem.

The survey was conducted in late March just before Governor Jerry Brown declared the emergency drought status for the state was over, but left the order in place for Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties.

The survey found that individuals registered as Democrats and Independents in the Valley were more likely to identify access to drinking water as a problem than Republicans. Twenty-five percent of Democrats and 18 percent of Independents, or those who have no party preference, said it is a problem, while only 9 percent of Republicans did.

Latinos were the most likely racial and ethnic group to say that access to drinking water is a problem, with one out of four indicating that it is “sometimes” or “always” a problem. Eighteen percent of whites and 16 percent of non-white, non-Latinos, which includes African-Americans and Asians, said it is a problem.

The survey results also show that many in the Valley are concerned about having an adequate water supply in the future. Seventy-five percent of respondents were either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about the future water supply. This high level of concern was present across racial and ethnic groups and party registration.

In other findings regarding the region’s priorities, water was identified as the most important problem facing the region. Thirty-one percent named it their top priority. The economy and jobs came in second at 19 percent, crime and drugs were third at 16 percent, and immigration (6 percent) and the environment (5 percent) rounded out the Top 5 issues for the region.

The findings in the report are based on a random sample of adults from the San Joaquin Valley. The full report of the findings on this topic can be found here.

For more information, contact Dr. Jeff Cummins at 559.278.6693, co-director of the Institute for Leadership and Public Policy; or co-director Dr. Annabella España-Nájera (Spanish-language media) at 559.278.3020; or Dr. Lisa Bryant, survey director, at 559.278.7612 or 559.512.0124.

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