The Mercury News today had an article which once again raised the issue of draining Hetch-Hetchy reservoir in California's Sierra Nevada mountains.
Environmentalists since the dam was built have wanted it to be pulled down to reveal a valley.
Look at the pictures on
and you will see a rather untidy and scruffy valley.
Lakes are more beautiful than rocks and trees. Seafront property is more desirable than mountain property - so others perceive the aesthetics of water. I guess because of all those pictures of trees, rivers, streams and mountains and relatively few of American lakes that the brain of many Americans has been conditioned to think that lakes are ugly. If only the early painters had painted more lakes and cameras were adjusted to show vast stretches of water, by for example shipping with wider angle lenses, then there might not be this cry for destroying the Hetch Hetchy Dam.
How destructive can people be? If something is working, i.e. providing high quality drinking water, why on earth would anyone demand it be broken. Whether empathizing with John Muir or lashing out in anger against dam builders, those who call for pulling down the dam are destructive bellyachers and childish whiners.
I think many who complain about the reservoir have no idea how beautiful it is. I suggest the State of California put a road with lookouts way above the reservoir that goes round it so that people can see it for themselves.
The English Lake District, Italian Lakes (Garda, Como, Maggiore), Lake Konstanz and Lake Geneva in Switzerland are incredibly attractive.
Its only because we haven't had a drought year that we aren't desperately short of water in California. The fact is the utility companies fail to supply the demand for us to have green golf courses, well-watered gardens, hand-washed cars. We need more reservoirs, not less.
So let's use the state money to dam up more valleys and make attractive reservoirs before a serious drought hits the state.