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A thank you from Peter Drekmeier, Bay Area Program Director, Tuolumne River Trust 

October 31, 2008

A year ago we faced a Water System Improvement Program (WSIP) that would have diverted an additional 25 million gallons of water per day from the Tuolumne River. Fortunately, last night the SFPUC approved the Phased WSIP, which will cap water sales at current levels until 2018. This was a huge victory – the first time we’ve ever had a cap on sales. We've changed the way the SFPUC does business!

We now have ten years to reexamine water demand projections and ramp up conservation and recycling programs. The SFPUC also will study the potential impacts of climate change on future river conditions, and complete a biological study of the Tuolumne to help determine when additional water should be released from Hetch Hetchy to benefit wildlife and vegetation downstream.

Many thanks to all of you who wrote letters to the SFPUC or attended last night’s hearing. We had an overflow crowd, with dozens of articulate and passionate speakers. It was wonderful to see so many people committed to the health of the Tuolumne River and other local watersheds.

The Phased WSIP still includes a provision that would allow the diversion of an additional 2 million gallons per day from the Tuolumne to fill reservoirs following extended droughts. However, the Commissioners made it clear they wanted to see the Tuolumne protected, and included several strongly-worded amendments aimed at minimizing the need for additional diversions. The SFPUC will set aggressive water conservation and recycling goals, and provide regular updates on water use projections to identify potential threats to the Tuolumne before they become problematic.

It was clear last night that the SFPUC is taking its role as a steward of the Tuolumne much more seriously. No one wants to see more water diverted from a wild and scenic river, so now we must all work together to make sure adequate measures are in place to reduce our dependence on the Tuolumne.

Thank you again for all your help in securing this major victory! We look forward to working with you on the next phase of the campaign – promoting water conservation and recycling.


P.S. We’re still in need of volunteers to help at the Green Festival in San Francisco on November 14-16. This 3-day "Party with a Purpose" is a "bottled water-free" event, and the Tuolumne River Trust will staff the tap-water station. As we fill up water bottles with Tuolumne water, we'll encourage people to help protect the River. Volunteers will get a free pass to the entire 3-day festival – see http://www.greenfestivals.org/san-francisco-2008/ for the program and more information. Volunteer shifts are still available for a variety of times, but we especially need help on Friday between the hours of 11:30am-4pm, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. To volunteer, please contact Jessie at Jessie@tuolumne.org.


Peter Drekmeier
Bay Area Program Director
Tuolumne River Trust
111 New Montgomery, #205
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 882-7252 x 302