Most San Franciscans know that their drinking water, among the best in the world, comes from Hetch Hetchy in the Sierras. Hetch Hetchy dams the Tuolumne River which originates in Yosemite National Park.
Many San Franciscans probably have no idea that the City has been told by the state to leave a little more water in the river to help heal severe harm to salmon and the health of the San Francisco Bay and Delta. Instead of doing its part, at the urging of the SFPUC staff, the City has sued the state to block these stronger protections.
Instead of being a river of pure snowmelt full of salmon and trout, today the Tuolumne, downstream of the dams, is a trickle of warm water inhospitable to salmon and other native wildlife.
Further downstream, where the Tuolumne water once fed the Delta and Bay, stagnant water now turns to cesspools of toxic blue green algae. San Francisco is refusing to do its part to help fix this, contrary to San Franciscans’ value to protect the environment.
Once abundant salmon runs that helped feed the Bay Area and beyond are weak and sick. The commercial fishing industry that built Fishermen’s Wharf is almost gone, costing us local, sustainable jobs while the City of San Francisco is refusing to do its part to restore the river, Delta and Bay.
We know there’s enough water to supply the City while protecting the environment because San Franciscan cut a third of their water use during the last drought. Instead of reflecting City residents’ experience, the SFPUC says conserving won’t work and they use faulty studies to argue for the keeping the status quo.
Recently, the National Marine Fisheries Service commissioned a group of independent scientists to examine these studies. The independent scientists found they had little to no scientific validity.
The SFPUC is woefully behind other major California communities including Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County in using water wisely. Water recycling, and other 21st century water tools, can reduce our dependence on the rivers supplying the Bay-Delta, particularly in dry years. They can also reduce the risk to our water supply from climate change. Instead of working with local groups to adopt such tools, the SFPUC has teamed up with anti-environmental San Joaquin Valley agribusiness.
E-mail Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to urge them to bring environmental responsibility to the SFPUC. San Franciscans need leadership in protecting the environment and the City's salmon fishing industry. Just click on the button and you will be taken to a form that will allow you to send a pre-written email to the SFPUC.