Opinion: Newsom’s water strategy needs to go a step further
Two weeks ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom released his water supply strategy, which is designed to address California’s warming climate and increasing drought intensity. Central to this strategy is expanding storage to capture water during wet periods and to help urban and agricultural users make it through dry times. But why stop there? What about storing water for the environment? … We propose a change in course. Using a simple reservoir model, we demonstrate that ecosystem managers can achieve better environmental outcomes when they are granted a percentage of reservoir inflow along with a portion of storage capacity. Flexibly managed, this combination of inflow and storage leads to the most efficient use of environmental water.
-Written by Sarah Null, 2021–22 CalTrout Ecosystem Fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center; and Jeffrey Mount, a geomorphologist, is a senior fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center.