Hetch Hetchy Reservoir serves two and a half million people in the Bay Area. Proposition F in San Francisco in 2012 asked voters to fund a study of different ways to capture water from the Tuolumne River and send it to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. That had the possibility of leading to a second vote around 2016 seeking authorization to poke a hole in the O'Shaughnessy Dam and fundamentally change the regional water system.
Supporters said draining the dam would atone for San Francisco’s original sin and restore an idyllic valley in Yosemite National Park. Opponents said the cost would be exorbitant and the risk to the region’s water security too high just as the Sierra’s snow pack is declining in a disrupted climate.
The discussion included two people on each side of the passionate debate. Susan Leal is a water consultant and former general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. She is also a co-author of the book, Running Out of Water. Mike Marshall is executive director of Restore Hetch Hetchy, and Spreck Rosekrans is director of policy at Restore Hetch Hetchy, the main organization behind Proposition F. Jim Wunderman is CEO of the Bay Area Council, a business group and former chief of staff for Mayor Frank Jordan, and also served under Mayor Dianne Feinstein.