Water is one of the most precious resources on earth. Without water, life would not exist. We can live without food for up to a month, but without water, our survival is limited to a matter of days.
The current drought in California is a humbling reminder that we should not take water for granted. I love my hot showers, a cool glass of water on a hot summer day, long soaks in the tub, and a swim in a refreshing pool. Before the drought, I behaved as if water was a limitless resource. Because of the drought, I now understand that it isn’t.
Until a friend mentioned visiting the Pulgas Water Temple, I didn’t know it existed. The Water Temple is hidden in a small woodland on Cañada Road just south of Crystal Springs Reservoir in Redwood City. While it’s close to Highway 280, Cañada Road is in the middle of nowhere and mainly used by hikers and bicyclists. Unless you know about the temple, you are not likely to discover it.
The temple is a monument to the Hetch Hetchy water system which carries water 160 miles across California from the Tuolumne River in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the San Francisco Bay Area. Water arrived at the temple on October 28, 1934, signaling the end of the 24-year project. According to the San Francisco Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the Hetch Hetchy water system supplies approximately 85% of the drinking water supply in the Bay Area.
I recently visited the Pulgas Water Temple on a weekday after spending the afternoon at Filoli Gardens located a short distance down the road from the temple. The parking area was ample, and only a handful of cars were parked in the lot. I followed a short path through a wooded area to reach the Pulgas Water Temple. At the end of the path, the landscape opened up to a large grassy lawn with the Greek and Roman-inspired stone Pulgas Water Temple positioned at the end of a long reflecting pool lined by evergreen trees. The contrast between the rustic forest and the manicured temple grounds was striking.
An inscription at the top of the temple reads, I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people. – Isaiah 43:20.
The Pulgas Water Temple is a worthy place to stop for a short visit on your way to Filoli Gardens or Half Moon Bay, while passing through the area on Highway 280, or when hiking or biking along the reservoir. Unless you bike or hike to the temple, there is a 30-minute limit for parking when the lot is open on weekdays. While the Pulgas Water Temple is open on weekends, the parking lot is closed.
Website: Pulgas Water Temple
Pulgas Water Temple with Reflecting Pool: Leslieakf (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D