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Mono Basin, Hetch Hetchy

September 08, 1987

At last San Franciscans and other Northern Californians are confronted with the concerns about a threatened loss of their water supply that Los Angeles has been facing in connection with its valuable water supply from the Mono Basin.

San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein suddenly is worried by Interior Secretary Daniel P. Hodel's startling suggestion to consider demolishing her city's Hetch Hetchy water and power project in order to provide environmental restoration benefits.

Mayor Feinstein pleads her case in The Times (Op-Ed Page, Aug. 23) and says it would result in substantial costs to the city if Hodel's tentative plan should be implemented. The loss of Mono Basin water, which serves some 500,000 Los Angeles residents and generates valuable hydroelectric power on its way to the city, would force the Department of Water and Power to spend at least $37 million every year to buy replacement water and electricity.

The Mono Basin project is under attack not from Hodel, but from environmental extremists, some of whom applaud the possibility of wiping out the Hetch Hetchy project also.

Now that Northern Californians are on notice that "it can happen here," they may end their opposition to proposals aimed at enabling their Southern California neighbors to secure just a small portion of the water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that now pours unused past the Golden Gate of San Francisco into the Pacific Ocean.

That surplus water is urgently needed to meet population growth in Southern California and to offset the possible loss of Mono Basin water and the definite impending loss of Colorado River water to Arizona.

ROBERT LEE

Newport Beach

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