89.9 FM Live From The University Of New Mexico
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Water crisis top of mind for New Mexicans, poll shows

The Rio Grande river snaking through Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Simon Foot
The Rio Grande river snaking through Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Voters in New Mexico are increasingly worried about the growing water crisis in the West. That’s according to an annual poll gauging the concerns of voters across the region.

The annual Conservation in the West Poll has been ongoing for the past 13 years, and picks the brains of voters across the West on environmental and conservation issues, like establishing new national parks and ensuring access to the outdoors for lower-income communities.

Among voters in the Rocky Mountain West, however, one issue stands out: water.

“The level of intensity of concern around water is really off the charts,” said David Metz, one of the pollsters involved in the State of the Rockies Project, which spearheads the poll.

With extreme weather events on the rise, such as devastating fire seasons and declining water levels, Metz said the findings could be tied to the increasing visibility of climate change.

“Part of the reason that's at the top of their minds is their strong perception that water shortages in the West are a serious crisis,” he said.

The data also show a divide in fears about water supply. Voters living in the more southern parts of the West, like New Mexico, are more likely to put concerns about water issues front and center.

Energy and wildlife conservation were also top priorities for respondents, along with a strong desire for state legislators to focus more on environmental legislation.

Bryce Dix is our local host for NPR's Morning Edition.
Related Content