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Opening the floodgates of Hetch Hetchy Valley

July 24, 2006

Re "A Hefty Price Tag on Hetch Hetchy," July 20

Like my fellow environmentalists, I emotionally support the removal of O'Shaughnessy Dam and other waterworks. But I am practically committed to the status quo. We are a rapidly growing state, and in various years we suffer extensive droughts or sudden floods -- neither hazard benefiting our overall water supply.

To open the floodgates of Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy reservoir means to restore the valley but also to reduce already available developed water. It is one thing to replace the acre-feet of water that metropolitan San Francisco and its neighbors rely on, expensive as this would be. But if we can develop such alternative water sources, we need them as well as the Hetch Hetchy source. We can ill afford to spend billions on this venture when such funds could expand our water supply with greater security.


Professor of Geography, Emeritus

Cal State Fullerton


We are disappointed in your editorial suggesting that restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park should not be a priority.

You seem to accept at face value the California Department of Water Resources' highly inflated cost estimates of $3 billion to $10 billion. At least $4 billion of that relates to the building of new storage reservoirs totally unrelated to replacing the water and power supplies in San Francisco's Hetch Hetchy system. We stand by our organization's well-documented estimate of about $1 billion.

It is ironic that The Times, representing an area of the state that ultimately did the right thing regarding restoration of Mono Lake and the Owens Valley, is willing to allow San Francisco to maintain its "we stole it fair and square" argument when it is making large profits off water and power sales from a facility in the people's Yosemite National Park.


Chairman, Board of Directors

Restore Hetch Hetchy

Sonora, Calif.

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