State residents making efforts to reduce water use

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A majority of North Carolina residents are both knowledgeable and concerned about the state’s water supply and are taking steps to reduce their water usage, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

The poll, conducted March 10-13, 2008, by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, surveyed 473 North Carolina residents. The poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.

Eighty-six percent of respondents reported knowing either a good amount or a great deal about the drought North Carolina is facing. The top places they reported gaining information were local TV news and local newspapers at 83 and 64 percent respectively.

In addition to being well informed about the issue, residents said it is a source of concern. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said they are very concerned about the drought, while 32 percent reported being somewhat concerned.

Citizens appear to be taking personal responsibility in tackling the problem. Eighty-four percent of respondents said that they are currently reducing their water use. Ninety percent of those surveyed disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, “reducing water use is not my personal responsibility.”

The top reported activities for reducing water use were:

  • Not watering outside: 55 percent
  • Taking shorter showers: 53 percent
  • Not washing car at home: 51 percent

Respondents identified the following water users as being “very responsible” for reducing statewide water use:

  • Local government: 62 percent
  • State government: 62 percent
  • Residents: 61 percent
  • Manufacturing industry: 57 percent
  • Business: 56 percent
  • Environmental groups: 56 percent
  • Business and developers: 54 percent
  • Power companies: 53 percent

The majority of respondents do not see the current water situation going away in the near future. Sixty-eight percent of citizens said that water conservation is a long-term issue that will last more than five years.

“These results suggest that government strategies aimed at fighting the drought and conserving water should enjoy widespread support among citizens across the state as many are already taking action to reduce water use in their own homes,” said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll.

The Elon University Poll has conducted several polls annually since 2000. The non-partisan Elon University Poll conducts frequent scientific telephone polls on issues of importance citizens. The poll results are shared with media, citizens and researchers to facilitate representative democracy and public policy making through the better understanding of the opinions and needs of citizens in the state and region.