Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sunol Temple Centennial

Members of the Sunol community recently joined the SFPUC to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Sunol Water Temple near the SFPUC Sunol headquarters in the East Bay.

The 1910 temple, designed by noted architect Willis Polk, was built as a permanent tribute to the convergence of three sources of water serving San Francisco at the time—Alameda Creek, its tributary the Arroyo de La Laguna, and the Pleasanton Well Fields.

SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington was Master of Ceremonies, and welcomed the crowd of several hundred people. Commission President F.X. Crowley talked on the significance of today’s upgrades to the region’s water facilities under the Water System Improvement Program. He also announced plans to upgrade the Sunol firefighting system, and reiterated the SFPUC’s dedication to the restoration of Alameda Creek. “Today,” he concluded, “we are celebrating a monument to the most precious of resources—our water”

Speakers representing the Sunol community included Alameda County District 2 Supervisor Gail Steele and long-time civic leader Pat Stillman. Stillman hailed the multi-year partnership between community and SFPUC that had produced the day’s celebration, and the temple’s restoration 10 years before. “My hope is to celebrate the water temple not only today, but tomorrow, and for many years to come,” she said. “Long live the water temple!”

Commission Vice President Francesca Vietor thanked the Sunol Planning Committee for its role in the successful day. A new plaque commemorates the temple’s centennial, and new interpretive panels chart Sunol water system history, from its 19th-century beginnings through today.

The current Sunol Valley water system is a critical link between the Sierra/Central Valley portion of today’s 167-mile Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System and the Bay Area’s transmission lines serving more than 2.5 million people. The SFPUC is upgrading all Sunol Region delivery and treatment facilities as part of the SFPUC’s comprehensive $4.6 billion Water System Improvement Program to repair, replace, and seismically upgrade the aging system, which crosses three major and active earthquake faults.