A ballot initiative designed to move San Francisco away from reliance on the reservoir that submerged the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park was overwhelmingly rejected by voters.
Proponents of the initiative, though, said the more than 55,000 votes the measure received demonstrated some success in "inspiring San Franciscans to imagine a different future - one that would increase their water security and begin to reverse the damage the City has done to Yosemite National Park and the Tuolumne River."
Out of the 244,099 votes cast on the Water Conservation & Yosemite Restoration Initiative, 188,924 opposed it.
The initiative would have required San Francisco to create a water conservation task force, and require that task force to present a plan to voters for greater water conservation and restoration of Yosemite National Park.
“Although we have not yet prevailed, the Yosemite Restoration Campaign has achieved many of the goals we set out to accomplish," campaign leaders said in a prepared statement. "For the first time ever, San Franciscans considered a different future that would increase our water security and begin to reverse the damage the City has done to Yosemite National Park and the Tuolumne River. Nearly a quarter voted to reform our 19th century water system so that the Hetch Hetchy Valley and the Tuolumne River can be restored.
“Today was a beginning, not an end. Over 50,000 San Franciscans sent a powerful message to our elected officials that the status quo is not good enough. We will spend the next two years leveraging and expanding this base of support to advance the cause of water reform in San Francisco and environmental restoration in Yosemite. We have no doubt that the values of sustainability and restoration will ultimately prevail."
Proposition F would have required the city to develop a two-part plan to build San Francisco’s local water resources and "reverse the damage done to the environment by the current water system over the last 100 years," the campaign said.
Groups that supported the initiative included the National Wildlife Federation, San Francisco League of Conservation Voters, National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Nevada Alliance, Foothill Conservancy, Forest Issues Group, Friends of the River, California Water Impact Network, Eco Equity, Endangered Species Coalition, The Planning and Conservation League, Earth Island Institute and Wild Equity.