The extraordinary history of San Francisco’s water system as well as the engineering and delivery of an urban water system in the era of climate change. Situated on a mostly arid coastal peninsula, the population boom that came with the California Gold Rush underscored San Francisco’s need to develop a source of fresh water for the growing city. The 1906 earthquake finally spurred city fathers to create a public water utility. When the city chose a site in the pristine Hetch Hetchy valley, inside Yosemite National Park, an epic battle was led by John Muir. Today, with the impact of climate change keenly felt, the politics of water remain front page news. “Water from the Wilderness” explores the ways an urban water utility, and those who depend on it, are learning to adapt and plan for an uncertain future.
Airs 4/30 at 2-3 a.m.