Arizona voters clearly understand the relationship between water, food, and the farm and ranch families who produce it, according to a recent poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies.
The poll results were released at the Arizona Agricultural Water Summit held Sept. 17 in Glendale.
The survey of likely Arizona voters provides a glimpse on how they think Arizona’s farm and ranch families are doing at conserving and managing water, and how voters might prioritize solutions today.
Additionally, Arizona voters suggested they are protective of continued water availability for Arizona farm and ranch use.
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Two-thirds of Arizona voters approve how Arizona farm and ranch families are managing water resources. By a 66 to 12 percent margin (21 percent do not know), Arizona voters approve of how Arizona’s farms and ranches manage the water resources used to grow food and fiber.
“Voters see how Arizona’s farmers and ranchers plan, implement, and manage water resources whether on an individual well basis or with many efficiently and effectively organized irrigation districts throughout our state,” said Grant Ward, one of three water policy specialists at the Summit.
In the survey, 85 percent of Arizona voters were concerned about water availability for Arizona farms and ranches. 14 percent were not concerned.
When survey respondents were presented with potential solutions, they selected “Spending more tax dollars to build water storage dams and pipelines” by a 73 percent to 23 percent margin.
“Arizona’s voters are informed and they understand we need to invest in water infrastructure to survive in the southwest,” said David Brown, an attorney, rancher, and water policy specialist.
Additionally, taking water away from Arizona’s farms and ranches is opposed by 63 percent of Arizona voters and supported by 27 percent, according to the findings.
“These voters seem to get the connection between food and water,” said Paul Orme, an attorney, rancher, and water policy specialist.
The Arizona Agricultural Water Summit was a gathering of more than 60 farmers, ranchers, and industry representatives discussing agricultural water needs in Arizona.
The Public Opinion Strategies poll of 600 likely Arizona voters included a live telephone interview survey designed to represent the likely 2016 Arizona General Election turnout. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.