Coloradans worried about water, wildfires and cost of living, new poll shows

A Colorado College survey of about 3,500 Mountain West residents finds strong support for water conservation, public lands

Chris Outcalt
The Colorado Sun

Public concern about climate change and challenges involving water quantity and quality have increased sharply during the past decade, with more than 70% of Coloradans now viewing drought, inadequate water supplies and low levels in rivers and streams as a serious issue, according to new results from a long-term poll run by Colorado College.

“We definitely see some extreme concerns about water,” pollster Lori Weigel of New Bridge Strategy said. “We’re consistently seeing now folks really concerned about droughts and reduced snowpack.”

The telephone and online interview polled 3,440 residents of eight Mountain West states. Weigel led the study with pollster Dave Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates for Colorado College’s State of the Rockies Project, which aims to enhance the public’s understanding of socioeconomic challenges in the Rocky Mountain West.

In particular, concern over inadequate water supplies is up 30 percentage points since the poll was first conducted in 2011. Alarm about climate change is up 25 percentage points compared to responses from 12 years ago. “We called it global warming in the very first survey,” Weigel said. “This has really inched up quite dramatically over the years.”

Read the full story via the Colorado Sun.

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