Originally published May 9 2015
William Shatner proposes $30 billion water pipeline from Seattle to drought-stricken California
by Jennifer Lilley
(NaturalNews) William Shatner, the actor who played Captain Kirk on the once popular show Star Trek, has proposed a $30 billion dollar plan that he says will save California from the problems the state has incurred as a result of the severe droughts. His big idea? Construct a water pipeline stretching form Seattle to California.
While the droughts are indeed a serious problem for many residents throughout California, a state that NASA estimates is experiencing a water deficit of 11 trillion gallons, many people think Shatner's idea is out of this world - and they don't mean that in a positive way.
For example, Washington Department of Ecology spokesman Dan Partridge feels Shatner's plan is flawed. "This would involve so many obstacles, so many hurdles that it would have to overcome to become reality," says Partridge. Obtaining water use rights, dealing with water transfer issues and the fact that Washington state has their own drought to deal with are just a few of the hurdles.
Shatner: "How bad would it be to get a large, 4-foot pipeline?"Yet Shatner remains determined, explaining his plan with optimism. "So I'm starting a Kickstarter campaign. I want $30 billion...to build a pipeline like the Alaska pipeline," he says. "How bad would it be to get a large, 4-foot pipeline, keep it above ground -- because if it leaks, you're irrigating! They did it in Alaska -- why can't they do it along Highway 5? This whole area's about to go under!"
For some people, this might seem like a great idea. It's no secret that areas once flowing with rivers are now entirely dry and many farmers have watched their crops die. In some instances, like one that involved people living in East Porterville, California, people have had to take hot showers in portable stalls set up in church parking lots. Without question, the situation is dire, but is Shatner's idea the best solution?
In Shatner's defense, he's not closed off to other ideas, an openness he's displayed through his web site, ShatnersWater.org. There, people are welcome to share their thoughts and discuss other water-saving alternatives. The site begins with Shatner stating, "I look forward to hearing your ideas. My best, Bill," and includes comments from others that suggest more immediate, cost-friendly initiatives.
One person, for example, suggests limiting time spent in the shower or even lathering with the water turned off and then turning it back on only to rinse the soaps suds away. The same individual also suggests purchasing toilet tank float technology or washing cars in the rain.
Nation's 80-year-old, leaking pipes contributing to water waste of epic proportions and should be fixedComments like this come the closest to pointing out the obvious: it makes more sense to work on issues close at hand before embarking on a larger one that leaves existing problems unresolved. In other words, consider infrastructure issues and personal habits in which leaky pipes and wasted water are addressed.
Doing so is absolutely necessary; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that the typical American household wastes around 10,000 gallons of water each year due to leaking faucets, toilets and pipes. They also note that 30 percent of pipes in areas where water is delivered to more than 100,000 people are as much as 80 years old. Throughout the entire nation, it is estimated that a whopping 7 billion gallons of water are wasted daily because of old, leaking pipes.
What is the cost of fixing the nation's failing pipes? According to EPA estimates, it's hundreds of billions of dollars. While that makes Shatner's $30 billion plan seem more reasonable, we must remember that he's talking about providing water to just one area, whereas fixing the nation's pipe system helps everyone. Furthermore, addressing problems now, before we're relying on 100- or 130-year-old pipes down the road - and wasting more water in the process - creates a long-term solution.
Other comments on Shatner's site say he's "definitely on the right track" but suggest burying the pipeline instead. One big benefit of his proposal is the increased attention on a very serious situation and discussions that will hopefully spur additional ideas to address the state's drought.
The issue is one that clearly involves attention and is full of economic, environmental and political concerns. While Shatner should be applauded for his interest in resolving a tremendous problem, his solution is one that has several shortcomings including the fact that the pipeline can spring leaks and contribute to the situation he set out to remedy in the first place.
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