SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – The latest Field Poll shows an overwhelming majority of Californians agree the state is facing a serious water shortage, but also that most respondents are opposed to mandatory rationing.

Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said 88 percent of those polled said the state’s water shortage is serious.

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“That’s considerably higher than the last drought, in which the Field Poll measured the same question…back in 1987, when 55 percent described that shortage as serious,” he said.

There was no consensus on whether the current situation is due more to a lack of storage and supply facilities or the inefficient use of existing water supplies, with a pronounced regional differing of opinions. Those polled in the Central Valley were more likely to blame a lack of adequate water storage and supply facilities in the state, while most other parts of the state think an inefficient use of water is to blame.

DiCamillo said by a 54-to-30 percent margin, Californians think the agriculture industry can reduce its water usage without facing any real hardships.

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“We went further too and asked voters, how much do you think they can reduce without creating a real hardship, and the average response was 10 percent,” DiCamillo said.

Those polled also favored voluntary cutbacks of 20 percent instead of mandatory water rationing, by a 67-to-27 percent margin.

Respondents were fairly evenly divided when asked whether the state should be allowed to bypass existing environmental regulations protecting fish and the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta region if residents or farmers face serious shortages during dry years.

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The Field Poll was completed March 18-April 5, 2014 among a random sampling of 1,000 registered voters in California.