October 1, 2008

Countywide Poll Uncovers Widespread Concern Over Orange County’s Water Supply

Today the Orange County Business Council and the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council released the results of a jointly sponsored public opinion survey measuring Orange County residents' attitudes toward the county's water supply. The poll of registered voters uncovered widespread concern about water reliability and revealed broad support for tapping the Pacific Ocean as one way to address the county and region's water shortages.

The countywide telephone survey conducted the week of September 22nd demonstrated the public is attune to Orange County's water supply crisis as county officials scramble to prepare for additional cuts to the county's imported water supply (Click here to view the Memorandum: http://media.marketwire.com/attachments/200810/471678_OCBC-OCBTCWATERPOLLMEMO.doc).

Some of the key findings from the survey include:

 --  87% of respondents believe that Orange County needs new sources of     fresh water. --  72% of respondents believe that seawater desalination is a good idea. --  71% believe that local water agencies should add desalinated seawater     to their overall water portfolio. --  61% said would pay a few dollars more on their monthly water bill for     high quality desalinated water that is drought-proof and reliable.      

"Orange County residents overwhelmingly support innovative solutions to improve water reliability," said Lucy Dunn, President of the Orange County Business Council. "The state has already approved one seawater desalination plant for San Diego County; now Orange County must also ensure a local, drought-proof water supply for our residents and businesses. We urge state and local officials to move quickly and approve the proposed Desalination Facility in Huntington Beach," she said.

"Typically, water supply is not the first issue people think about when they wake up in the morning, but that's starting to change. If clean, fresh water were not available, it would be the only issue people think about," commented Richard Slawson, President of the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council. "Our members support seawater desalination because it has proven to be an environmentally responsible way to ensure the economy is strong and good-paying jobs are created," he said.

The public opinion survey was conducted September 23-25 and included a 500 person sample of Orange County registered voters. The survey's margin of error is +/- 4.4%.

"OCBC is a strong advocate for increased investment in infrastructure," added Lucy Dunn. "Enhancing the county's Infrastructure and supporting innovation is vital to the foundation of a favorable business climate and the creation of good-paying jobs. OCBC is proud to partner with the Building Trades Council on this important research toward meeting these worthy goals."

Fast Facts on Water in Southern California:

 --  2007 was the driest year ever recorded in Southern California.      --  75 percent of the state's precipitation falls north of Sacramento, yet     75 percent of demand is south of that point.      --  About 30 percent of Southern California's overall water supply flows     through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.      --  The 1976-77 drought cost California $6.5 billion in today's dollars.     The 1990-91 drought saw $2 billion in losses.      

 CONTACT: Robb Korinke Director of Communications 949.794.7225  

SOURCE: Orange County Business Council