In California, the answer, depending of where you live, might be the pristine Tuolumne River
which supplies water to 2.5 million people in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, or the lovely Mokelumne River, 90 miles from its 1.3 million users in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, or the San Francisco Bay Delta, the West Coast's largest estuary, which sustains 23 million Central and Southern Californians.
Hetch Hetchy: Undoing a Great American Mistake examines California's Hetch Hetchy dam, which in 1900 diverted one-third of the flow of the Tuolumne River
for San Francisco's water needs.
As of midday, the eastern flank of the so-called Rim Fire had burned to within a mile of Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy reservoir on the Tuolumne River
, raising concerns about the possibility of ash and soot contaminating the sprawling artificial lake.
Brewer, a botanist of the State Geological Survey of California, in an ultramatic territory: 'On very dry hillsides in serpentine soil, along the Tuolumne River
The Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts envision Red Mountain Bar as a new way to wring more electricity from the Tuolumne River
. Environmentalists see it as a potential threat to plants, animals and recreation.
After the great earthquake and fire of 1906, San Francisco was in desperate need of a reliable water source--and proposals were made to damn the Tuolumne River
and transform the Hetch Hetchy Valley into a giant hydro-electric supply for the city.
In the 1920s, the Hetch Hetchy valley and the Tuolumne River
that flowed through it in California were transformed from a protected wilderness area into a reservoir.
This option, Meral adds, would inundate seven-tenths of a mile of the wild and scenic Tuolumne River
. Mitigation efforts would, of course, include restoring the eight-mile stretch of the river that flows through the Hetch Hetchy Valley.
The stream feeding Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is the Tuolumne River
, which connects downstream with the San Joaquin.
The $98 million would pay for improvements to today's groundwater-fed system and Turlock's share of a treatment plant for Tuolumne River
Through it flow the abundant waters of the Tuolumne River
. Problem: Hetch-Hetchy lies within the bounds of Yosemite National Park, and conservationists led by John Muir vow a fight to the death to save the valley.
Stroll down the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River
with its 4,000-foot cliffs, marvel at spectacular waterfalls and clear, deep pools.