Wa­ter pipe­line from Seat­tle?

The ac­tor hopes to raise $30 bil­lion to bring Seat­tle wa­ter to the South­land.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Shelby Grad and Veron­ica Rocha shelby.grad @la­times.com Twit­ter: @shel­by­grad veron­ica.rocha @la­times.com Twit­ter: @Veron­i­caRochaLA

Ac­tor Wil­liam Shat­ner’s $30-bil­lion idea to ease fu­ture droughts might seem a lit­tle wacky, but it’s hardly new.

For gen­er­a­tions, wa­ter­hun­gry South­ern Cal­i­for­nia has jeal­ously eyed the rainy Pa­cific North­west as a po­ten­tial source of the pre­cious re­source.

And time af­ter time, it has been re­buffed.

When Los An­ge­les County Su­per­vi­sor Ken­neth Hahn in 1990 pro­posed dig­ging aque­ducts that would grab wa­ter from the Columbia and Snake rivers, Ore­gon Gov. Neil Gold­schmidt re­sponded: “I have the dis­tinct im­pres­sion that you are try­ing to steal my wa­ter.”

Now ac­tor Wil­liam Shat­ner has waded in with his own im­prob­a­ble plan.

“I want $30 bil­lion … to build a pipe­line like the Alaska pipe­line. Say, from Seat­tle — a place where there’s a lot of wa­ter. There’s too much wa­ter,” the “Star Trek” ac­tor told Ya­hoo’s David Pogue. “How bad would it be to get a large, 4-foot pipe­line, keep it above ground — be­cause if it leaks, you’re ir­ri­gat­ing!”

Shat­ner said he plans to launch a Kick­starter cam­paign to raise the cash.

The 84-year-old ac­tor’s idea comes at a time when Cal­i­for­nia is try­ing to bet­ter con­serve the wa­ter it has, rather than get more from out­side the state.

But that wasn’t al­ways the case.

The Golden State was try­ing to get ahold of Columbia River wa­ter way back in the 1960s.

Around the same time, some in Alaska floated the idea of build­ing a 1,700-mile pipe­line to bring wa­ter to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

But it wasn’t un­til 1991 that then-Alaska Gov. Wal­ter Hickel came to L.A. to meet with Hahn to dis­cuss the idea.

“Hickel be­lieves the pipe­line could be built on the back of a huge barge and low­ered to the sea floor like a big gar­den hose as the barge moves south. And be­cause it would be un­der the sea, the pipe­line could be built of re­in­forced plas­tic in­stead of the con­crete and steel that would be needed to with­stand the rig­ors of a land route,” The Times wrote in 1991.

The gen­eral con­sen­sus was that the pipe­line could work but that it would be costly not only to build, but also to power the pump­ing re­quired to move the wa­ter.

Hahn told re­porters he would rather tap wa­ter from the Pa­cific North­west, “but the gov­er­nors of all those states wrote me nasty let­ters. So I thought, for­get the Columbia River, I’ll go higher.”

Cal­i­for­nia now is fac­ing one of the most se­vere droughts in its mod­ern his­tory. Ir­ri­ga­tion de­liv­er­ies have been slashed, and farm­ers ex­pect to idle more than 500,000 acres of crop­land this year. Ground­wa­ter lev­els in some parts of the San Joaquin Val­ley have sunk to record lows as grow­ers drill more and deeper wells. Some small com­mu­ni­ties de­pen­dent on lo­cal sources have run out of wa­ter.

Although ma­jor reser­voirs in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia hold more wa­ter than they did a year ago, the Sierra Ne­vada snow­pack that nor­mally pro­vides the state with about a third of its wa­ter sup­ply hit a record low for April 1.

Gov. Jerry Brown has or­dered ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties across the state to cut wa­ter use by 25% over the next year.

Shat­ner said that even if his Seat­tle pipe­line doesn’t work, he hopes it will in­crease aware­ness of the drought.

Don Bartletti Los An­ge­les Times

AC­TOR Wil­liam Shat­ner sug­gested Seat­tle, which has “too much wa­ter,” could help Cal­i­for­ni­ans.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.