Power to the People! And a few corporations ...

Power to the people - and to a few corporations

San Francisco's wholesale water customers are pursuing additional oversight of how the City manages its Regional Water System. That's only fair, given that they use two thirds of the system's water and pay two thirds of its costs.

The Regional Water System is overseen by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, whose members are appointed by the City's Mayor and confirmed by its Board of Supervisors. Most of the water is sold to cities and water agencies outside of San Francisco who have limited control over how San Francisco operates.

These wholesale customers are organized as the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) and collectively resell the water to 1.6 million people. BAWSCA has negotiated a new agreement with the SFPUC which will provide it with more oversight. BAWSCA members have formalized their support ofthe agreement by adopting a resolution.

Its only reasonable that water customers have a say in how a system is operated. It will still be San Francisco's system, but the City will be more accountable to its entire service territory.

 

googleplex.jpg

The Googleplex in Mountain View

Google is "commited to making smart use of the Earth's resources", and is constantly looking for ways to be "even more responsible in our use of energy, water and other natural resources".

 

Restore Hetch Hetchy has an idea for Google.

 

Of course BAWSCA represents more that just residential customers. Some 20 "Fortune 500" companies are headquartered in BAWSCA cities, but outside San Francisco, including household names like Google, Hewlett Packard, Tesla, Facebook and Intel. So these companies, at least indirectly, will have more say in how their water is managed as well.

It is also only reasonable that all Americans have a say in how our nation's national parks and natural resources are managed. The events leading to damming and flooding Yosemite National Park's Hetch Hetchy a century ago taught us a lesson. We learned that lesson, and passed the National Park Service Act in 1916 to ensure we would not repeat the mistake.

We are still, however, living with the mistake. San Francisco and its customers comprise the most economically productive area in the country, but it is also the only area that has caused so much destruction in one of our flagship national parks.

Restore Hetch Hetchy congratulates these communities on their increased role in managing San Francisco's Regional Water System. We also invite them to embrace our vision of returning the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to its natural splendor ─ while continuing to meet the water and power needs of all communities that depend on the Tuolumne River.