Why is Seattle water so good? In the month of May Seattle Public Utilities will send out the 2012 Drinking Water Quality Report with info on the history of Seattle’s water. Early city leaders thought ahead to the needs of the growing community, and obtained the Cedar River Watershed as a protected resource. The Cedar River hydroelectric plant was the first municipally-owned hydroelectric project in the USA – and that is why Seattle’s water is still so good.
In early Seattle, private providers of water, electricity, telephone service and streetcar lines struggled for dominance. Some people thought that competition would sort things out but it was found that utilities were a tangled mess. There was a long struggle to obtain municipal control of resources such as water.
On Thursday, May 16, at 7 PM the History Cafe program at MOHAI will tell of the historic struggle between the public and private sectors and how the City of Seattle obtained the Cedar River resource which still serves the city today. Speakers at the one-hour program will be Kit Oldham and Jennifer Ott, HistoryLink historians. History Cafe is free — if you are not a MOHAI member you may come directly in through the cafe entrance for the 7 PM program.