The next drought: Water officials endorse a 'less is more' strategy for the future

Glimpses of California's water future:

A sprawl of sewage treatment plants, recharge basins and desalination facilities, stretching out across an industrial backlot near Rancho Cucamonga.

A collection of slender, solar-powered telemetry towers rising from an almond orchard in the San Joaquin Valley to bring high-tech efficiency to irrigation.

And, at a university research station near Irvine, three Potemkin Village-like suburban houses in a row, offering a new vision of the traditional lawn.

Mindful that only nature can whip a drought, those who study and manage water in California are focused not on the current epic, but on better preparing the state for the next drought, and the drought after that, and the drought after that.

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