"Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct: Big Fixes for Big Quakes" - 9 Nov. 2011

KQED/QUEST

 

Much of the Hetch Hetchy water delivery system for the San Francisco Bay Area was built in the 1920s and 1930s with riveted steel pipes that don’t perform well during earthquakes. At a cost of $4.6 billion, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been installing new pipes and employing state-of-the-art engineering elements. In a solid mix of historical footage and on-the-scene reporting, with an appreciation for the challenges involved, KQED’s Sheraz Sadiq explained the engineering steps being undertaken to protect the Bay Area’s water supply. Guy Gugliotta, a freelance science writer who helped judge the contest, called the KQED broadcast “a comprehensive look at the vulnerability of the water supply in the San Francisco Bay Area — something that should concern every resident.” He praised the “fascinating use of historical footage, outstanding engineering footage, and graphics” to tell the tale. “My editors and I knew from the outset that this would be a difficult story to tell,” Sadiq said. “It would need to cover the controversial history of Hetch Hetchy, explain how the current water system works and the complex, innovative work underway to keep the water flowing in the event of a major earthquake in the Bay Area.”