W[illia]m Ham Hall
Grant building, San Francisco,
John Muir, Esq.,
At the suggestion of Mr. Thos. R. Hanna, formerly my assistant on my Tuolumne river work, I am writing you relative to the storage and utilization of waters on that river.
As you perhaps Know, I represent those who have a number of claims, &c., on the Cherry-Eleanor branch of that river.
We specially desire not to take any part in the conflict as between the Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts and the city of San Francisco.
Neither can we afford to mix up in any: opposition to the city's using the Hetch-Hetchy Valley for a reservoir.
And I particularly request you, at the outset of this letter, not to use my name in any way or my work or attitude in any way other than as-herein suggested to you. Above all, please do not put me in a position as saying anything against the city's aspirations or the District Claims.
You, I understand, desire to prevent the use of Hetch-Hetchy valley as a storage Water site. In that I may personally sympathize with you, but I cannot take part in your opposition.
I suggest, however, that there is no necessity for the city's using Hetch-IIetchy Valley; and that if you will so represent to the Secretary of the Interior, I think you would have much more effect in that Quarter than if you opposed its use only on the ground of its being a natural feature which should be preserved unchanged.
In this connection I am sending you a printed copy of a communication I have just sent to the Honorable Secretary on this subject, and I call your attention specially to paragraph (2) at the bottom of page 7 and to the marked words in the closing paragraph at head of page 9, wherein I intimate to the Honorable Secretary that no proper investigation has ever been made of this subject, either by the city or by the Irrigation Districts or in their behalf, that this should be done, and that it Would show storage sites to exist which would enable him to settle this conflict. I may add to you that it would show there is no necessity for using Hetch-Hetcny.I could demonstrate all this to the Secretary without an investigation, but I dare not undertake it, because he would think I was doing it only in behalf of those I represent, and
both the City and the Districts would think I was working against them, whereas I desire to do what I can for both of them.
In this connection I call your attention to [illegible] copies ofcommunications from myself to the Directors of the IrrigationDistricts and, to the Honorable secretary of the Interior,under date of Aug. 3rd, /07, which I am also [illegible] to you.
You will thus see, from., these several communications, that we seek to control the waters and the storage of the Cherry-Eleanor branch of the Tuolumne River, and that we have offered the storage waters of our reservoirs to the irrigation districts for their use on terms which will barely pay us interest on the cost of storage.
If the Districts will thus use our waters they should have less objection to the city obtaining waters stored in some reservoirs on the Main Fork of the river.
Then the question would come up to whether there are other sites than Hetch-Hetchy on that main fork which could be to advantage used by the City. Personally, I think there are such sites, No doubt, you think so too.
I suggest that in your writing to the Honorable Secretary you might say that you have seen these communications of
mine to him. and that you second my suggestion as to the advisability of the City looking into the matter further with the view of selecting another site or sites on the Main River.
I hope you will not suggest the City's taxing Lake Eleanor or Cherry Valley or any other site on the Cherry-Eleanor branch. There is no necessity for that, and the proposition would just complicate matters still more.
The Irrigation Districts cannot store waters for themselves, because they are heavily bonded and have no further credit to raise money for the work.
There is no law under which the General Government can store water; for them.
We are in position so to do, and to do so cheaply and to their advantage, because we would get our profit out of use of the water for power.
I hope you will see that my program affords a solution of all the difficulties and that you will do what you can to further it.
As to the use of Lake Eleanor as a reservoir, we now control that situation by owning all the patented land there, and otherwise. We do not want to sell our rights and lands to the City or to any one else. If we get the other reservoir
rights we are applying for, we would utilize them first, reserving the Lake Eleanor site to the last, and our use of it would merely make a larger lake where the one now exists.
I hope to hear from you in reply:-
1907 Sep 30
Original letter dimensions: 26.5 x 20 cm.
Hall, William Ham, "Letter from W[illia]m Ham Hall to John Muir, 1907 Sep 30." (1907). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 3783.
Reel 16, Image 1063
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