San Franciscans Will Vote on Draining Hetch Hetchy ValleyBy Rocky Thompson on August 6th, 2012
Voters in San Francisco will decide this fall whether to drain the 117-billion-gallon Hetch Hetchy reservoir that was damned in 1923. Naturalist John Muir famously campaigned for the city not to dam the site, which he said was one of the most beautiful areas in the world. That failed campaign was the start of the Sierra Club and a much more powerful environmental lobby. The reservoir provides about 7% of the freshwater used by California, and estimates on replacing this source of water range all the way from $3 billion to $10 billion. I know nothing of the water needs of Californians, but I really hope they drain the valley. Can you imagine all the cool stuff we’ll find in the bottom?