PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A majority of Oregonians feel cities and towns in the state need to move quicker to address drought, but the support for a speedier response has decreased since 2021.
Oregon Values and Beliefs Center released results Wednesday from a poll conducted in July showing how Oregonians feel about the response to drought.
The poll showed 67% of those surveyed agreed cities and towns need to move faster to address the issue, but that’s down from 78% of poll respondents who supported the idea in 2021.
“Between July of 2021 and July of 2022, the percentage of people living in the Willamette Valley who say quicker action is needed saw a particularly large drop, from 79% in 2021 to 63% in 2022,” OVBC stated in a news release.
People’s opinions on investing in water infrastructure improvements often depend on their political beliefs, the poll showed.
About two-thirds of Democrats said they’d be willing to pay more for water infrastructure, compared to about one-third of republicans. Independents fall somewhere in the middle at 42%.
Nearly half of the people surveyed agree there is enough water in Oregon to meet current needs. People’s opinions on this question varied depending on where they live. The poll results show those who live in the Willamette Valley are more likely than those living in the tri-county Portland metro area or the rest of the state to say Oregon has enough water.
In 2021, 56% of Oregonians believed the state had enough water to meet current needs, but in 2022, that number dipped to 48%.
The poll also asked respondents if they agreed or disagreed that there is enough water in Oregon to meet future needs. Only 36% said they agree.
Again, people living in the Willamette Valley were more optimistic about the future water supply than people living in other parts of the state.
OVBC said in 2021, Oregonians were much more evenly split. The results showed 42% believed the state does have enough water to meet future needs and 45% believed it does not.
The poll asked people if everyday Oregonians are doing enough to conserve water. The results showed that Republicans are nearly twice as likely as Democrats to agree that the general public is conserving water effectively.
Researchers compared demographic trends among poll participants and found that white Oregonians are much more pessimistic than Black, Indigenous and other Oregonians of color when it comes to water management and drought. 60% of BIPOC Oregonians said cities and towns need to act more quickly to address water issues and drought, compared to 70% of white Oregonians.
OVBC said 1,572 Oregon residents ages 18 and older took part in the 15-minute survey.