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The Battle Over Hetch HetchyAmerica's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism$
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Robert W. Righter

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195149470

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195149470.001.0001

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The Imperial City and Water

The Imperial City and Water

(p.29) CHAPTER 2 The Imperial City and Water
The Battle Over Hetch Hetchy

Robert W. Righter (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

During the second half of the 19th century, San Francisco grew from a village to a major city. Located on a peninsula, the city faced a perpetual water problem. Mayor James Phelan realized that if the city was ever to reach its full potential, it needed an abundant and pure water supply from the Sierra Nevada. After studying a number of different sites, the Tuolumne River and the Hetch Hetchy Valley emerged as the preferred location. But the valley lay within the newly-established (1890) Yosemite National Park. Yet San Francisco continued its quest, purchasing land within the valley and seeking legislation to allow reservoir development.

Keywords:   San Francisco, James Phelan, municipal water supply, Yosemite National Park

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