San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Information

This video is of the SFPUC and the NOT so brilliant plan on restoring the pipelines and the Hetch Hetchy reservoir.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) water system serves roughly 2.4 million people in 5 counties including… Tuolumne, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco.  Around 85% of the drinking water comes directly from the snow-capped mountains of Yosemite and roughly 15% comes from local rainfall.  Most of the water comes from the 459 square mile protected watershed in the Yosemite National Park.  The snowmelt flows down the Tuolumne River and into the Hetch Hetchy reservoir.  The water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir travels more than 160 miles from Yosemite to the San Francisco bay area.  The water travels through a gravity-fed system of tunnel and pipelines designed to enclose and protect our drinking water.


What is a Watershed? A watershed refers to an area of land that forms a basin and is bound by ridges, such as hills and mountains. Rain or snowmelt flows down from the ridges and collects in streams, rivers, and other bodies of water such as reservoirs.  Watersheds create links between everything that lives or lies within them.  Whatever happens upstream affects the quality of the natural environment of people, animals, and plants that live downstream.  The health of the watershed influences the quality of water which is ultimately collected for drinking water.

The SFPUC manages reservoirs located in 3 different watersheds:

1. Hetch Hetchy Reservoir: Is located in Yosemite National Park within the 459-square-mile Tuolumne River watershed.

2. Lake Eleanor: Is located in Yosemite National Park within the 79-square-mile Eleanor Creek watershed.

3. Cherry Lake: Located in the Stanislaus National Forest within the 114- square-mile Cherry Creek watershed.


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