Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"The Battle Over Hetch Hetchy

Browsing at the library recently I happened upon two books about Hetch Hetchy, both published in 2005. Presumably I was too distracted by giving birth to my first child that year to notice, but now I have some time to check them out.

The first (at least, the one I decided to read first) is The Battle Over Hetch Hetchy by Robert W. Righter. I'm about half way through and so far a good read. A couple interesting tidbits:

- In the 1880s, the USGS determined that the valley was too beautiful to flood.
- Early on, Lake Tahoe was considered as a source for water!

But the most interesting information I've learned falls under the category of history repeating itself, and/or the more something changes, the more it stays the same: San Francisco then, as now, had its mind made up before any rational or logical information came its way, and when that info came, it decided to ignore it. Then, as now, they disputed evidence presented by scientists that sufficient water could be had more cheaply(financially and resource-wise), and when asked to present evidence to the back the city's claims, said they hadn't been able(willing) to gather such evidence. One is reminded of the infamous 2005 hearing when, pressed to explain the PUC's $10 bil restoration figure, the spokeswoman admitted it was a "back of the envelope" number.

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