For many westerners, concerns over the future of water are as important as the economy and unemployment, according to results from Colorado College's 2016 Conservation in the West poll.
The sixth annual State of the Rockies Project poll of thousands of residents in seven western states shows many people fear for the future of water in the West. The sentiment might come from a change in national economics and a rash of news about drought, said Eric Perramond, the director of CC's State of the Rockies.
"I would say that the concerns for water use now equal and just barely exceed concern about unemployment. And that's not unexpected given the economic recovery," Perramond said. "(And) like most Americans, we tend to pay more attention when something is in our face."
Conducted through phone calls to 2,800 people, the poll also gauged public opinion on federal public lands, another hot topic in the West where a Sagebrush-style rebellion in Oregon broke out in protest of federal ownership. The poll indicated public opinion seems to favor certain public lands remaining under federal oversight.