William Shatner proposes $30 billion water pipeline from Seattle to save California from drought

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LOS ANGELES — Celebrity William Shatner says he plans to start a $30 billion Kickstarter campaign to fund a water pipeline to save California from a dangerous drought. He says the pipeline could take water from a place like Seattle.

In an interview with Yahoo! Tech’s David Pogue, Shatner explains “California’s in the midst of a four-year-old drought,” he said. “They tell us there’s a year’s supply of water left. If it doesn’t rain next year what do 20 million people in the breadbasket of the world do? In a place that’s the fifth-largest GDP? If California were a country, it’d be fifth in line — we’re about to be arid! What do you do about it?”

“I want to build a pipeline, say from Seattle, a place where there is a lot of water — there’s too much water!” Shatner says.

He goes on to say, “How bad would it be to get a large 4-foot pipeline, keep it above ground, because if it leaks you are irrigating. If it leaks, the people pay you. And bring it down here and fill one of our lakes.”

Of course, this plan would require extensive resources, planning, cooperation and money — maybe even more than he plans to ask for in the Kickstarter campaign.

As unlikely and improbable as the idea may be, Shatner is bringing up an important topic that is too often overlooked.

“If I don’t make $30 billion, I’ll give the money to a politician who says, ‘I’ll build it.’ Obviously, it’s to raise awareness that something more than just closing your tap … so why not a pipeline?”

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57 comments

  • I hate Californians in WA State

    Don’t live in California. Don’t come to Washington either. We’re overcrowded enough as it is.

    • John Fuller

      I strongly agree. Crowded cities and freeways greatly diminishes the overall quality and value of any given area. I hope that the world doesn’t fall apart before I can retire and move out of state in an RV, heading for open roads and big sky country. Seattle is so freaking crowded!

  • Michael Peterson

    I already Mr. Shatner thought about this type of idea. I seen this coming for some time now and thought that we need to find ways to resolve the lack of water in the California area. Your idea is good at the least, but with drought in sight not just in California, Seattle, Washington, it self has its own water shortage which was just announced last week. Transferring resources from one location to another works in some instances, but this time it will not work. A work around in my eyes would be to find some investors like you are and build a water desalination plant on the coast of California to get your water supply. It would cost upfront. but the return could save water shortage areas like the case of California. I live in the Seattle area and feel that taking water from one state to supply another will not work, or be approved by the citizens of Washington. If you believe my idea has merit, don’t hesitate to contact me to brainstorm a real fix.

  • David Chawes

    Jim: Why not just teleport billions of tons of ice from the north pole to LA? Shouldn’t be a problem if Scotty can just get the antimatter pods to work a little harder.

    • Servo Engineer

      This idea was considered by responsible people three years ago and cast aside. See http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/crbstudy/finalreport/Technical%20Report%20F%20-%20Development%20of%20Options%20and%20Stategies/TR-F_Appendix4_FINAL.pdf
      .
      And nobody talks about siphoning water from the six largest freshwater lake in the US which is in Ca., Lake Tahoe. Pump it up and over Donner Pass through the hard rock tunnel drilled for the railroad, now in disuse. Then when that lake goes empty they can suck down Crater Lake……

      • Tjp

        Periodically, the Puget Sound Basin has droughts too. The area is dependent on winter snow falls. If water is piped from those reserves to California, the this area shrivels up. The Puget Sound already experienced this with electric power. Inexpensive Bbonniville power is sent over the grid to California, and now the Puget Sound buys power from Canada. And rates more than doubled. So people in Washington are providing electric welfare to California. And now water welfare. No. Get the Eco-fornians to build a couple modern nuke plants for desalinization. Much less ecological impact. Diverting river water will affect salmon commercial fishing and wipe out other species as well if enough water were diverted. Don’t move the problem. Solve it locally. California has more than enough water to support the agriculture needs. Just move the people out if you have too. Or have the Californians pay to ship water in themselves. Build a city in arid land, get water problems. Drain a huge lake to make more land for crops, get water problems because you elimated a natural reservoir. Scotty is spinning in his orbit at this suggestion. You’re an actor not an engineer William.

      • Bobby

        @SERVO ENGINEER: Huh? Lake Tahoe is not the 6th largest freshwater lake in the US. That distinction belongs to Great Salt Lake (which is actually salt) in Utah. But if you want water, then the 7th (or 6th if you don’t count salt) would be Lake of the Woods in Manitoba-Minnesota-Ontario (1,485 sq mi). Lake Tahoe is 30th in the US, at only 191 sq mi. Thank you Wikipedia.

        • TraciR

          No, Tahoe is the 6th largest FRESHWATER lake. The great salt lake is not freshwater, as you seem to know, so it cannot be in the list of largest FRESHWATER lakes.

  • Karlous Crabtree

    Only the Mississippi River carries more water than the Columbia. I’ve thought about this off & on for many years. I think the Columbia could absolutly flood the Southwest. Depends on size & type of delivery system used!

    • Don

      During the last ice age the Columbia filled up Bonneville Lake (larger than all fresh water lakes in the world combined). Today you know it as the Great Salt Lake. So, yeah, as long as it still flows grab the water below the lowest damn since it’s long going to flow into the ocean anyways.

      • TraciR

        The Columbia did not form lake bonneville. The river doesn’t even go anywhere near Utah, you need to work on your Geography.
        Also, the water below the last damn is required for tourism, shipping, and our fish. It is not “extra” water to be taken by a state that allowed itself to outgrow its resources.

  • Tattooed_Angel

    Why doesn’t California focus its efforts on desalination? (Removing salt from saltwater to make it usable/drinkable)

  • Kathy Evans

    That $30 billion could be better used to build a few desalinization plants. There’s plenty of water out in the ocean.

  • Dezri Dean

    Oh hell no, like all liberals they expect someone else to pay for their screw ups!
    Stop letting Nestle get rich off of selling “their” (stolen from somewhere else) water, stop wasting it and get used to living in the desert.
    It always was a desert (southern California) and probably should have been left that way.

  • Don

    Damn, Bill, are you truly that clueless? Seattle pipes its water from the North Cascades. You don’t even have to go that far north for water. What flows into the Pacific between Washington and Oregon? Yeah, duh!

    • ML Ely

      Let’s not and say we did. They need to solve their own water problems. They are working on running one river out of water, why offer them the Columbia? They asked some years ago and Oregon and Washington weren’t interested and I hope it stays that way.

  • Richard Duwe

    just wow. Southern Cakifornia already has their hands in NorCals water & now they want water from Washington. I agree with another poster GFY

  • Melody

    Our governor just announced last week that we are going into a drought. And even if we weren’t, did you even think to ask Seattle about your plan before announcing it? No! If your worried about the drought then move but please do not move here to Seattle! We have too many transplants here as it is.

  • Gloria Anton (@NightShade10)

    Problem is, our governor has declared 17 counties, our farming counties, in a severe drought due to our lack of snow pack, also! So, I doubt seriously that anyone in Washington State will be “shipping so called excess water” until someone does something about global warming! Perhaps Shatner would be better placed to start a kick starter fund for bribing the GOP into not supporting fracking (they’re repealing a law in Texas that prohibited it and they’ve been in a drought for 10 years now) which uses so much water and leaves pollution and toxins in the earth when it’s over. Or Mr. Shatner can look at other water resources such as cloud seeding, or purchasing some time on the HARP to change the jet stream so California can get more rain. There’s so many other options other than taking water from one drought declared area and shipping it to another area – that’s just a little over the top!

  • Sara

    Sadly we don’t have extra water this year! The environmental refugee phenomenon is coming fast to the USA. Food prices could double. People will be forced to relocate. Farming will have to shift elsewhere. The hot spot in the Pacific ocean is troubling. I am moving this summer after twenty years here. Too crowded, expensive, and the new residents can’t make eye contact or socialize well due to overwhelming tech overload. This place was heaven and now I dont recognize it. Btw Lake Union water level was at a low you usually dont see until August last month. The C o E released some water because the boats and houseboats were dangerously low. What will August be like? Will all the lakes montage be bottomed out? I don’t want to find out! All the plants have evolved for extreme moisture so it will be a quick die off if we have a dry few years coming up. Thats what they expect. Get prepared!

  • D. MC.

    Keystone should Fund the Water pipeline , to prove the safety of the debated Oil pipeline. Leaks, effects on wildlife, etc. If it works,then of course build the oil pipe.

  • "peety"

    no no no, how does this make me more rich? A pipeline full of dirty oil is a much better way Benefits few but makes me richer. The American way.

    • Sara

      Of course Larry! We are in one of the most educated cities in the USA. Love that! From hard/ pseudo science to conspiracy experts we are all welcome to the table because there is truth in it all: )

  • ML Ely

    Why should other states solve California’s water problems? They have sucked dry the Colorado, and they asked some years ago for water from the Columbia. We have water issues of our own in Oregon and Washington and a lot of population growth. California needs to turn their eyes to the west and should have years ago… to the ocean. Israel desalinates. Talk to them.

  • halfbakedlunatic

    And in 20 years, when the greedy California crowd has sucked all the water out of Washington State, and BOTH areas are environmental disasters? Such a joyful outcome that will be!

    • ML Ely

      Have you Ever got that right!! They have a lot of experience in using up water sources. That said, my other half says there is a way to share water with CA. We ship them all of our sewage via that pipe they want and they can treat it and reuse it.

  • thebewildnerness

    I think the tugs towing icebergs solution would be less expensive that a pipeline taking water from one drought stricken area to a slightly more drought stricken area.

  • Mike Noneofyourb

    Where exactly is this water from washington supposed to come from again?? They just declared a drought themselves, and 44% of the state is now in drought. Easy to say, oh lets ust take it from the neighbor, but why dont you take that 30 bil, and build a couple desalination plants instead? Staring at all that water and THIS is the idea you come up with??

  • john

    We already have pipelines, a water source with pumps to move the water to SoCal. They were turned off 6+ years ago when we were already in a drought (drought didnt start 4 years ago like this article states, more like 8).
    If they have the moxy to do that then there is no way in hell enviros will allow a pipeline to be built from Washington….

  • Andre

    we hate you we hate everybody from California we hate all your laws don’t f****** come up here and we hate you shatner Washington is not going to support you

  • PC

    Mr Shatner,
    Maybe you should Google the Feather River Project or Shasta Dam. LA has already damaged the Owns Valley extensively. The dams further North , Oroville and Shasta prove that very strict conservation is the answer not moving further north every generation. I say this as a California native, I’m not hostile towards LA, I lived in So Cal and liked it. The time has come for desalination plants in mass, waterless landscapes, permanently empty pools or a mass migration out of the SouthLand. Have you ever lived in or visited Oregon for any length of time? Hah! Any pipilene would be hacked, sawed and blown to pieces the first day of operation in Oregon.