SFPUC to offer virtual tours of facilities, watershed properties

July 21, 2020
In response to coronavirus pandemic, agency to offer virtual visit of sites such as the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and San Francisco Sewer System.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- With the coronavirus pandemic preventing in-person visits to San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) sites, the agency is embarking on an innovative new program that will offer virtual tours of its watersheds, facilities and other properties, including some locations that never been visited before by the public.

“We are saddened that we cannot meet personally with visitors at our sites, but that doesn’t mean we cannot teach others about the unique history and makeup of our system,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “By moving to virtual tours, we can still connect with our residents and customers during this difficult time. There has always been a strong demand for these kinds of tours, and I’m proud that our agency is thinking outside of the box to address those needs.”

Called the SFPUC Source: Virtual Explorations, these one-hour tours will take place Wednesdays at 1 p.m. over the summer and early fall, with each event being conducted through the Blue Jeans Events platform. Attendees will see exclusive videos and photos of SFPUC as part of the tours. Details about how to register for each tour are available at http://sfwater.org/virtualexplorations.

The first virtual tour will take place Wednesday July 22, 2020 and will focus on the Sierra Nevada portion of the water system and its history, including an overview of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which provides 85 percent of the water that serves the SFPUC’s 2.7 million customers. Steve Ritchie, the SFPUC’s Assistant General Manager for Water, will provide a history of the construction of the reservoir, including an overview of the O’Shaughnessy Dam and the formation of the water system that connects the Sierra Nevada to San Francisco.

Other planned virtual tours will explore the SFPUC’s water and sewer systems, its watershed properties on the Peninsula and the East Bay, and green infrastructure projects underway in San Francisco. Additionally, virtual visits will examine the SFPUC’s power system, pollution prevention programs and the agency’s Sewer System Improvement Program, a 20-year citywide investment to upgrade and improve the City’s sewer system.

Each tour will be conducted by a policy expert from the SFPUC. Attendees who take part in three sessions will receive an exclusive virtual prize. Attendees who make five sessions will be entered to win SFPUC gifts such as reusable water bottles and more.

SOURCE: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission