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San Francisco Bay Saline Water Barrier collection
WRCA 116  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Collection Number
  • Historical Note
  • Collection Scope and Contents
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: San Francisco Bay Saline Water Barrier collection
    Date (inclusive): 1920-1963
    Collection Number: WRCA 116
    Extent: 0.83 linear feet (2 boxes)
    Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Abstract: The collection consists of materials covering various saline water barrier plans for San Francisco Bay, with emphasis on the Reber Plan.
    Languages: The collection is in English.


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the University of California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives. Distribution or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. To the extent other restrictions apply, permission for distribution or reproduction from the applicable rights holder is also required. Responsibility for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], [date if possible]. San Francisco Bay Saline Water Barrier collection (WRCA 116). Water Resources Collections and Archives. Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Acquisition Information

    Provenance unknown.

    Processing History

    Processed by Randal Brandt, WRCA Technical Services Librarian, and Vanessa Yan, 1999.

    Collection Number

    Collection number updated February 2019. Legacy collection number was MS 84/3. This change was part of a project in 2018/2019 to update the collection numbers for collections in the Water Resources Collections and Archives.

    Historical Note

    During the early 20th century, San Francisco Bay Area officials considered many different ideas for solving a variety of problems, including a dwindling supply of fresh water, congested roadways, insufficient means to handle trans-bay traffic, and the encroachment of saline waters into the upper San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In response to these problems, several visionary individuals and groups developed multi-purpose plans for the area.
    By far, the most popular and well-publicized plan was the Reber Plan. Originally called the San Francisco Bay Project, the plan was developed by John Reber, a former schoolteacher and theatrical producer. Reber's plan would create two fresh water lakes in the upper and lower bays by means of earth and rock fill dams between Richmond and Marin County, and San Francisco and Oakland. Over these dams would pass high-speed roads and railways. The Reber Plan claimed it would provide 20,000 acres of additional filled land, increase the deep-water harbor by 50 miles, and conserve 2,400,000 acre-feet of fresh water annually. Critics pointed out the plan's destruction of commercial fisheries, increased sewage disposal problems, adverse effects on the ports of Oakland, Stockton, and Sacramento and flooding potential. Although it attracted considerable attention, even that of the editors of the Saturday Evening Post, the Reber Plan was opposed by the State of California, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers and was never adopted.

    Collection Scope and Contents

    This collection consists of reports, correspondence, addresses, essays, news clippings, magazine and journal articles, maps, and drawings detailing several ideas and schemes for constructing salt-water barriers across San Francisco Bay.

    Collection Arrangement

    The collection is arranged topically into 2 series as follows:
    • Series 1. Reber Plan, 1930-1962, undated
    • Series 2. Miscellaneous Saline Water Barrier Materials, 1920-1963

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Reber, John, 1887-1960
    Savage, John L. (John Lucian), 1879-1967
    Schedler, C. W. (Carl William)
    Biemond plan
    Bridges -- San Francisco Bay (Calif.)
    Dams -- San Francisco Bay (Calif.)
    Saline water barriers -- California -- San Francisco Bay
    Saltwater encroachment -- California -- Delta Region
    Water resources development -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area

    Genres and Forms of Materials