Hetch Hetchy views divided




As Yosemite National Park Ranger Deb Schweizer waited atop the 300-foot-tall O'Shaughnessy Dam yesterday, she chatted with two groups of visitors.

Members of each, she said, commented on the beauty of the 1,500- to 2,000-foot granite walls and Wapama Falls, a 1,000-foot cascade of water rushing down rocks into Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

But the conclusions each group walked away with were dramatically different.

One, Schweizer said, lamented the beauty lost when Congress approved damming the Tuolumne River in 1913 to create the reservoir and provide drinking water for the city of San Francisco.

The other group decided the valley was even more beautiful filled with 66 billion gallons of water.

The two strong opinions show, on a small scale, the fight surrounding Yosemite's 8-mile-long mountain reservoir. Though it provides some of the cleanest water in the world to San Francisco, an increasingly vocal group wants to tear it down.

Restoration worth the cost? Twain Harte's Bob Hackamack, chairman of the technical and engineering committee for Restore Hetch Hetchy the group spearheading the effort to remove O'Shaughnessy Dam eagerly speaks about the organization's effort.

About 1,000 people nationwide belong to Restore Hetch Hetchy, with most members living in California or on the East Coast.

Hackamack bubbles with ideas on how to restore the valley, many focused on moving the water to reservoirs downstream. For example, if the water were transferred to Don Pedro Reservoir, Hackamack said, studies have shown that reservoir would only rise 21 feet.

"Of course, conservation in San Francisco is not as active as it should be or could be," Hackamack said, implying if the city saved more water, residents might not draw as much from the Sierra snowpack.

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Tuesday October 25, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Paying the price


Chris Lusardi, of Sonora, is one of thousands of Tuolumne County residents ... more

New oak disease spreads from coast to foothills


A deadly fungus killing oak trees along the coasts of central and ... more

Columbia Elementary board ousts superintendent


Five days after receiving a 2 percent raise, Columbia Union School District ... more

Mudslide knocks out a portion of TUD’s ditch system


The Columbia ditch will be closed until Saturday, following a mudslide that ... more

Battle for cannabis regulation in Calaveras wages on


Strong opinions and loud accusations have made the battle over cannabis cultivation ... more