Owned by San Francisco, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park provides water to nearly 3 million people in 29 cities across the San Francisco Bay Area. The water, provided by snowmelt via the Tuolumne River, does not require filtration.
Stored in Hetch Hetchy Reservoir behind O’Shaughnessy Dam, the water is delivered by a gravity based system and aqueduct to the Bay Area.
Hetch Hetchy has generated controversy since it was first proposed as a source of water following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Congress also had to approve the project because it was located in a national park. John Muir and the Sierra Club unsuccessfully fought the reservoir’s establishment since it required flooding a scenic mountain valley. After its construction in the 1920s, various groups have lobbied to restore the Hetch Hetchy Valley to its natural state.
The Chronicle archives overflow with photos documenting the downstream journey of Hetch Hetchy’s water — an engineering marvel that feeds power stations and fills reservoirs. So here’s a follow-up to our previous column on O’Shaughnessy Dam and Hetch Hetchy Valley.
It’s an environmental conflict that has been coursing through California for more than a century: the unrelenting thirst of San Francisco versus the pristine beauty of nature. After years of debate, O’Shaughnessy Dam opened in 1923, holding back the Tuolumne River and flooding Hetch Hetch Valley, a Sierra gem compared in its grandeur to nearby Yosemite Valley.
San Franciscans take pride in drinking pristine water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which they treasure as among the purest in the nation. So a recent move by the Public Utilities Commission to introduce groundwater gradually into the city’s drinking supply prompted anxiety and suspicion.
San Francisco’s famously pure High Sierra water is about to be served with a twist. Starting next month, city water officials will begin adding local groundwater to the Yosemite supplies that have satiated the area’s thirst since the 1930s and made the clean, crisp water here the envy of the nation.
Early 20th century visitors to Hetch Hetchy Valley, a few miles north of Yosemite Valley, saw a rich meadowland and green oak groves, with the clear Tuolumne River winding through them, embraced by towering granite walls. It’s a landscape no one has seen since 1923, when the valley was drowned by Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the main water supply for San Francisco, 180 miles west.
In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Raker Act, which allowed for the building of the O’Shaughnessy Dam to supply earthquake-stricken San Francisco with water – at the expense of an integral part of one of the world’s most beautiful national parks.
A judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit seeking to force the city of San Francisco to drain Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, a key part of the water system for 2.6 million residents of Bay Area cities stretching from Hayward to San Jose to San Francisco.
In a significant step for the largest reservoir project in the Bay Area in 20 years, workers have finished building the spillway — a massive concrete channel as wide as eight lanes of freeway and a quarter mile long — at Calaveras Dam near the Alameda-Santa Clara county line.
State water officials not only told more Central Valley farmers Friday that they need to stop drawing water from low-flowing rivers and creeks — but they tossed the city of San Francisco onto the list as well.
Four years into a drought that has left many cities and farms desperate for water, the vast Sierra-fed water system that serves San Francisco and much of the Bay Area is in relatively good shape — and should get the region through the dry months ahead, officials said Tuesday.
The health, safety and economic well-being of 1.7 million residents and 30,000 businesses would be threatened if Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park is drained, says a San Francisco water agency in reaction to a new lawsuit over the reservoir.
Spurned at the ballot box three years ago and facing an even more uphill battle now because of California’s historic drought, an environmental group has filed a lawsuit attempting to drain Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, a linchpin of the water supply for 2.6 million Bay Area residents from San Francisco to San Jose to southern Alameda County.
San Francisco is unreasonably monopolizing spectacular Hetch Hetchy Valley by using it as a 117-billion-gallon reservoir, says a new lawsuit in a decades-old fight to restore the Yosemite National Park landmark.
In a tasting that could have evoked the joie de vivre of a Napa Valley showroom if it weren’t for the stiff office chairs at the water department and the inherent blandness of the fare, five Chronicle food writers — amid boozy gurgles and talk of soft finishes — were introduced to what will soon be San Francisco’s new tap water.
This week, the $288 million tunnel begins carrying the Bay Area’s water supply from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park to the Peninsula, bolstering the dependability of the region’s water system.
Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants, rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation. Excellent for elementary school classroom use.
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Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the state. On this updated version it is easier to see California’s natural waterways and manmade reservoirs and aqueducts - including federally, state and locally funded projects - the wild and scenic rivers system, and natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects, wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado River.
Owned by San Francisco, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park provides water via water districts and private utilities to nearly 3 million people in 29 cities across the San Francisco Bay Area.
Due to its high altitude location and water supplied by snowmelt, water from the reservoir (provided by the Tuolumne River) does not require filtration. Stored in Hetch Hetchy Reservoir behind O’Shaughnessy Dam, the water is delivered by a gravity based system and aqueduct to the Bay Area.