Prop. F, Hetch Hetchy restoration a costly dream

San Francisco does not currently do enough to recycle water. Nor does it do enough to recharge its underground aquifers and use groundwater for its customers.

Proponents of tearing down the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir are using those arguments to try to persuade voters to approve a study that could lead to dismantling the Hetch Hetchy water system, which delivers water to 2.6 million residents and businesses in four Bay Area counties.

The proponents of Proposition F point to our poor recycling and groundwater use as a reason to study removing O’Shaughnessy Dam and draining Hetch Hetchy Reservoir so it can be restored to its natural state. They say restoration of the valley in Yosemite National Park is a chance to right the wrong made 100 years ago when San Francisco flooded it.

Prop. F would require the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to spend $8 million studying improving water conservation and replacing the water and power lost by removing the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The measure also would lay the groundwork for a possible 2016 vote on the issue of draining the reservoir, no matter how costly it would be to move this proposal forward.

Studies have put the cost of removing the reservoir at between $3 billion and $10 billion. While we could get behind the restoration of Hetch Hetchy Valley and replacement of The City’s water and power if the replacement costs appeared within reach, it is hard at this moment to imagine anyone ever managing to come up with the necessary funding to do this. Voters can decide whether to spend $8 million on this alluring dream.

editorialsHetch HetchyOpinionProp FSFPUC

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Agnes Liang, who will be a senior at Mission High School, is running for one of the two student representative seats on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Turbulent year on school board leaves student delegates undeterred

Around this time last year, Shavonne Hines-Foster and Kathya Correa Almanza were… Continue reading

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Three people killed in SF shootings in less than 24 hours

San Francisco police were scrambling Saturday to respond to a series of… Continue reading

Muni operator Angel Carvajal drives the popular boat tram following a news conference celebrating the return of the historic F-line and subway service on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Mayor, transit officials celebrate return of Muni service

Mayor London Breed and city transit officials gathered Friday to welcome the… Continue reading

San Francisco police investigated the scene of a police shooting near Varney Place and Third Street on May 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD shooting may prompt new body camera rules for plainclothes cops

Police chief says incident ‘should not have happened’

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference about a $12 billion package bolstering the state’s response to the homelessness crisis at the Kearney Vista Apartments on May 11, 2021 in San Diego, California. (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
Newsom promises sweeping change in California’s $267-billion budget

John Myers Los Angeles Times California would embark on the most ambitious… Continue reading

Most Read