Hetch Hetchy lawsuit update Oct 2015

An update of Restore Hetch Hetchy's lawsuit, which alleges that Hetch Hetchy Reservoir violates California law. We believe we have a strong case and look forward to a hearing on the evidence.

Presently, we are waiting for a court ruling on San Francisco's attempt to move the case to San Francisco and away from Tuolumne County, where we filed and where the reservoir is located. This decision is expected soon.

We are obviously anxious to move our case forward, and on November 20 we will ask the court for timely resolution of any and all preliminary issues so that we can address the merits of restoration. San Francisco, as it has done for more than a decade, continues to try to avoid any real discussion of the costs and benefits of restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. 


San Francisco, usually a progressive leader, is the only city in the country which has carved a water system out of a national park and keeps it from national enjoyment.


Michael Lozeau, of Lozeau Drury LLP, is lead counsel for Restore Hetch Hetchy.

In a nutshell:

  • Our evidence, prepared by highly qualified experts, will show that the value of restoration far exceeds the cost of the water system improvements necessary to make it possible.
  • We argue that, because the value of restoration is greater than its cost, the ongoing operation of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir violates the California Constitution's prohibition against any "unreasonable method of diversion".
  • We will not ask for restoration to begin until necessary water system improvements can be made to insure that not one drop of supply will be lost.

We want San Francisco to continue to rely on the Tuolumne River for most of its water supply -- but we do not believe that its water should be stored in a national park, and especially not in an iconic glacier-carved valley in Yosemite. No other city in the United States has caused such destruction in a national park, at the expense of all Americans; why should San Francisco be allowed exclusive use of Hetch Hetchy Valley?

Restore Hetch Hetchy is looking forward to moving past the legal preliminaries so that we can present our evidence in court.  Thanks to our donors, we have a solid foundation of support that has enabled us to file this legal challenge. However, we will need additional financial support to see this case to its conclusion. Please contribute what you can. 

It is time to make Yosemite National Park whole once again.