Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Damned Dam

A long, long time ago....when men were still men....around 1906 to be precise....a group of folks in central California came up after the San Francisco earthquake and fire....and asked for permission to dam up this valley in the far distance.  The valley?  Hetch Hetchy.  Not a catchy name, I know.

In those days....there were environmentalists, so this turned into an odd fight.  For seven years....back and forth, this went.  Finally, the local guys found enough support in Congress and the Senate and achieved a vote.  The dam was finally built and operational in 1923.  As you can imagine....it was a pretty fierce fight for the region to win.  The volume here?  675k cubic yards.  Yeah, it's a pretty good bit of water behind that dam.

Now, the positive over the years was that San Francisco had just about all the fresh water they needed.  It was enough to keep over two million people happy.

In the last couple of years....this odd relationship popped up.....some Republicans and some environmentalists.  They've got this ballot going up in November with folks in San Francisco.  Basically, if a majority votes in favor of this.....the dam comes down.  An entire glacier valley will suddenly appear, where a lake stands today.

Course, this would make you ask....where exactly San Francisco would get it's water, and no one is really sure about that question.  The amusing thing is that Nancy Pelosi and a host of local Democrats have come out against the destruction of the dam.  You can imagine this odd crowd of Republicans and environmentalists working together.

The rent that the city pays for the water they get?  Thirty thousand dollars....ever since 1913.  It's never been increased....ever.  Even now, most folks question the logic in this, and it ought to be into the hundreds of millions, if you asked most economic experts.  What does this relate to most households in the bay area?  Well....imagine having a new water bill that runs an extra $2k per year.  Which pocket would you find that extra $2k?  Don't know.

Some folks generally think as a minimum....the city ought to pay some extra...maybe not the extra $2k a year, but certainly a quarter of that.

What you have to worry about in a ballot effort.....is that some folks will just walk in and do something crazy.  If they vote for the dismantling of the dam....it might happen somewhere down the line....maybe a decade or so.  The folks in the bay area would have to come to a plan B, and force themselves to cough up billions.  Obviously, they'd want the US federal government to also cough up billions.  And the new fresh water?  Where would it come from?  Well....you just might have to lay in a eight-foot pipeline all the way to Canada....to find that much free water.

The curious thing out of this whole mess is that you'd have a whole new national park available, and thousands of folks would drive out each week, on freshly paved asphalt, and stop at fancy rest-stops along the road.


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