Sharon Kleyne Recalls Water Recycling At Sutro Baths

Sutro Baths Anniversary Reminder of Water Innovation. Sharon Kleyne Acknowledges Sutro Baths Water Infrastructure.

Water, as most of us know, works with the sun to create all life on this planet. Most would also acknowledge that we’re in the midst of a global water crisis. According to the United Nations, more than 65 million people do not have access to clean drinking water. Scientists and researchers like Sharon Kleyne, founder and director of Bio-Logic Aqua® Research Water Life Science®, are also warning people that we’re losing too much fresh water (rain) to the oceans.

Yet, there’s another water use that benefits the public’s health and that is recreation. That’s why Kleyne, host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water, Global Climate Change and Your Health on Voice of America, took a few moments recently to remember fondly the grand opening of the ornate and useful Sutro Baths in San Francisco on March 14th, 1896.

At the time, Sutro Baths was the largest indoor swimming pool ever opened. Built by the entrepreneur and former mayor of San Francisco, Adolph Sutro, the Baths filled a small inlet below the Cliff House. Now a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area administered by the U.S. National Parks service, the Baths closed in 1966 and a fire shortly afterwards (officials ruled arson—the developer abruptly left San Francisco and claimed the insurance money) destroyed the remaining buildings. Today, all that’s left of Sutro Baths are walls of damp and musty concrete, stairs and passageways that are blocked off and a tunnel with a deep crevice in the middle.

“Yet, in its prime,” said Sharon Kleyne, “Sutro Baths was an engineering marvel, a perfect example of new water infrastructure.” J. E. Van Hoosear’s article in 1912 identified the materials used in the vast structure. They included 100,000 square feet of glass, 600 tons of iron, 3,500,000 board feet of lumber and 10,000 cubic yards of concrete. At high tides, water flowed directly into pools from the nearby ocean, recycling 2 million gallons of water in an hour. At low tides, a powerful turbine water pump, which had been built at sea level inside a cave, could fill the tanks as a rate of 6,000 gallons of water a minute, thus recycling all of the water in five hours.

While in operation, Sutro Baths was serviced by the Ferries and Cliff House Railroad, which ran along the cliffs of Lands End overlooking the Golden Gate. This rail line carried bathers from the Baths to a terminal at California Street and Central Avenue (now Presidio Avenue).

“The materials that went into construction of Sutro Baths is impressive, but just the water recycling capacity alone,” said Kleyne, “was a brilliant feat of engineering; it’s still a model we can study and learn from as we develop more efficient ways to reclaim water from our oceans.”

New Global Women for Water Mission

Radio Host Sharon Kleyne has announced a new global women’s mission to educate the world about water shortages, water recycling and the need for governments to work together to solve water problems. The mission will be called “Women for Water”. Kleyne made the announcement during an interview on her radio show, the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water®, while interviewing guest Jerry Wiles, President of Living Water International. Wiles and Kleyne had been discussing the critical importance of women to the success of his agency’s many water projects around the world.

As a woman entrepreneur, researcher and educator, Kleyne has been an outspoken water advocate and activist for over 30 years. Kleyne is a member of the International Woman’s Association.

Living Water International was founded in 1990 to bring safe and reliable water to rural areas in developing nations in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. As of 2014, with an annual budget of $28 million, the organization has constructed over 14,000 water wells. Jerry Wiles, PhD, was President of Living Water International for 12 years and is now President Emeritus. The current president is Gary Evans.

During the interview, Wiles noted that historically, women are far more impacted than men by water shortages and unsafe water. In rural villages in developing nations, the task of fetching water each day from the nearest creek or pond is considered “woman’s work.” This sometimes entails carrying water for several miles. The women usually bring their children, and young girls are trained to fetch and carry water at an early age.