After the San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906, the city decided it needed a dependable source of electricity and water. They sought to dam up a river in the newly created Yosemite National Park and flood the Hetch Hetchy Valley. This was met with public and political outcries denouncing the dam. It is considered by some to be the first time there was a significant national opposition to a project that risked destroying a natural space. Eventually, the city got its dam and the reservoir still provides power and water to San Francisco.
John Muir and the Sierra Club were against the building of the dam in the Hetch Hetchy Valley. John Muir called the Hetch Hetchy Valley “a grand landscape garden, one of Nature’s rarest and most precious mountain temples.” The dam was approved by Congress in 1913. The reservoir holds around 117 billion gallons of water and provides 180 million gallons to the San Francisco Bay Area each day.
Environmentalists along with some politicians are in favor of tearing down the dam, which would require billions of dollars to repair, and attempting to restore the Hetch Hetchy Valley.
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