The not-so-shocking news: Drought has fallen off the cliff in terms of voter awareness and prioritization.
Just one year ago, water and drought were still topics of dinner table conversation. Lakes were drying up...treasure-hunters investigated long submerged boats, cars and other relics on parched lakebeds.
Then came this year's deluge. Tulare Lake is reborn, vast regions of California remain waterlogged and the Sierra's record breaking snowpack has yet to melt...
So it's not terribly surprising that drought isn't talked about much at all around California's dinner tables...
Why it matters: Water districts, private water companies and consultants in California's water arena are communications veterans and have have done an extraordinary job educating our public about the value of water. Californians largely know that we can't just "conserve our way out of the problem."
And, the public has largely been receptive to shouldering more and more of the financial costs of water.
But...people are clearly no longer "primed" to be thinking about water scarcity on a daily basis. And with costs still rising and the ongoing need for new local sources of reliable drinking water, Californians still require outreach and education.
What this means: Water agencies will need to find new, refined and better messaging to break through.
This demands quality opinion research.
We know what messages to test. But every region is different…and every message tests differently in every region.