This article from the Sacramento Bee makes a good case for changing the current policies that do not work very well in dry years, while also noting the obvious need for more water storage.
Recent images of Folsom Lake speak a thousand words about the drought Northern California faces and the potential dire consequences.
Until the recent rains, our local water agencies were projecting that by September the water level in Folsom Lake would fall below the outlets that provide water to people served by the Roseville, Folsom and San Juan water districts.
If that were to occur, hundreds of thousands of residential and business customers would be subjected to severe water rationing. In addition, rivers and streams that provide a habitat for fish and other species would have reduced flows and the water that remains would reach a higher temperature, threatening migrating fish in the lower American River.
While state and federal water managers and biologists work to make the most of this year’s water and local officials urge conservation, we must use this experience to reconsider how water in Northern California reservoirs is managed by state and federal water managers – and to ensure that we do all we can to prevent them from leaving us with little to no water in the future.
Unlike most reservoirs in California, the Folsom, Shasta and Oroville reservoirs not only serve the water needs of people locally and our economy, they also serve the needs of waterways and the species that inhabit our local ecosystems.
In an effort to maintain the salinity level in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and provide water reliability for the Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California, state and federal water managers and biologists maximize the water released by the reservoirs, without input from the local government representatives responsible for ultimately delivering water to local customers.
The current approach simply doesn’t work.
Retrieved February 22, 2014 from http://www.sacbee.com/2014/02/22/6179062/viewpoints-time-to-change-water.html