This commentary was published on Sunday, July 5, 2015, in the Sacramento Bee.
The acute water shortages now hitting California have prompted many in Congress and the state Legislature to call for new surface reservoirs to reduce the impacts of future droughts. Some have even blamed the lack of reservoir development as a primary cause of water scarcity during the current drought. The reality is that new surface storage would have added only modestly to the state’s water supply. We’d still be in the midst of a severe drought. Building drought resilience requires a much broader set of actions, including conservation, water trading, managing groundwater and expanding nontraditional supplies like recycled wastewater and stormwater.