Judge rules for San Francisco in fight over reservoir
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California judge Thursday threw out a lawsuit that sought to remove Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to more than 2 million San Francisco Bay Area residents.
Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Kevin Seibert sided with San Francisco officials who have objected to draining the reservoir.
Restore Hetch Hetchy, the group that sued the city to close Hetch Hetchy, had argued that it violated the California Constitution.
But Seibert said the group's interpretation of the state constitution was pre-empted by the 1913 federal law that authorized the dam and reservoir at Hetch Hetchy.
Restore Hetch Hetchy Executive Director Spreck Rosekrans said he will appeal the ruling. He said San Francisco could store the water it needs elsewhere.
"We will show in court they can do this without losing one drop of water supply," he said.
The battle over Hetch Hetchy, which is located in Yosemite National Park, was first waged unsuccessfully by naturalist John Muir in the early 20th century. San Francisco voters in 2012 rejected a ballot measure that sought a plan for draining the reservoir.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera thanked Seibert, calling the Hetch Hetchy water system "pristine" and a "marvel of civil engineering and public service to millions."