- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A slim majority of likely California voters support an $11.1 billion water bond slated for the November ballot, but public support would grow if the bond comes with a smaller price-tag, according to survey results released late Wednesday.

The Public Policy Institute of California poll comes as lawmakers are negotiating changes to a funding package for water projects that legislative leaders see as too large and full of pork-barrel spending to win voter approval.

The survey found 51 percent of likely voters back the existing measure and 26 percent are opposed. Support grows to 59 percent for a smaller bond, but questioners did not ask what price tag respondents would accept.

California is in the third year of a drought accentuating the need for a bond funding water projects ranging from dams and reservoirs to urban water recycling to groundwater contamination cleanup. Gov. Jerry Brown has said he prefers a $6 billion bond, while lawmakers have yet to agree on a compromise.

The poll surveyed 984 likely voters from July 8-15 and has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.

Separately, the survey found three-quarters of residents want their water districts to mandate reductions in water use.

That result came from a survey of 1,705 residents with a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.7 percent.

State regulators approved mandatory outdoor water restrictions with fines up to $500 for water-wasters. They also required water districts to adopt emergency drought plans, decisions they made on the last day of polling.

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