“In November, San Franciscans will vote on looking into alternatives to capturing water at the Hetch Hetchy reservoir site, which could lead to restoring the fabled valley in Yosemite National Park. While this modest step faces opposition, the vote is important in the evolution of thinking about the environment and how to provide water for people.
When the Hetch Hetchy project was conceived, water-borne diseases were common, water treatment was in its infancy, and cities were growing. Mountain reservoirs offered high-quality water, supporting economic and population growth and hydropower. New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Oakland pursued this strategy as wonders of engineering and public service. Today, such dams have lost favor.
San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy water system began deliveries in 1934 and now provides water to 2.4 million people, mostly outside of San Francisco. This system was so well engineered that it was largely neglected for decades until deterioration and earthquake risks required a $4.6 billion retrofit.”
Read more: San Francisco Chronicle