Re-Assembling Hetch Hetchy: Water Supply Implications of Removing O’Shaughnessy Dam

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

U.C. Davis Master's Thesis

Publication Date



Hetch Hetchy, water supply, O'Shaughnessy Dam


The Hetch Hetchy System provides San Francisco with much of its water supply. O’Shaughnessy Dam is one component of this system, providing approximately 25% of water storage for the Hetch Hetchy System and none of its conveyance. Removing O’Shaughnessy Dam has gained interest for restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley. Removal would entail reoperating other existing reservoirs for water storage, but would open the valley to restoration, revenue, and economic development from recreation and tourism. The water supply feasibility of removing O’Shaughnessy Dam is analyzed by examining alternative water storage and delivery operations for San Francisco using an economic engineering optimization model. The economic benefits of O’Shaughnessy Dam, and its alternatives are measured in terms of the quantity of water supplied to San Francisco, economic costs, and hydropower generation.


Basis for Pulitzer Prize winning editorial series by Tom Philp in 2005

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