Capitol Alert

Pipeline advocate William Shatner holds senior water rights

William Shatner arrives at the NBC Universal Summer Press Day at The Langham Huntington Hotel on Thursday, April 2, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif.
William Shatner arrives at the NBC Universal Summer Press Day at The Langham Huntington Hotel on Thursday, April 2, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

William Shatner generated modest buzz when, in an interview with Yahoo’s David Pogue last week, he proposed a Kickstarter fund-raising campaign to build a $30 billion pipeline to bring water to drought-ravaged California.

It could come from Seattle, the actor said, or some place with “a lot of water.”

Shatner, it turns out, is a senior water rights holder in California, with rights along the south fork of the Kaweah River for a ranch he owns in eastern Tulare County, according to the state’s water rights database.

Shatner has both riparian rights, which derive from property abutting the source of water, and pre-1914 rights, which were claimed by a former landowner in 1875.

During 2011, Shatner reported diverting 560,000 gallons to irrigate 15 acres, water 10 cows and five horses, and meet the water needs of two houses, 40 fruit trees, gardens and a sequoia grove, according to his 2012 statement of diversion, the most recent available on the water board’s website.

In his 2012 report to the state, a representative noted that the ranch had been visited by a state official.

“We have had a person from the state water resources board come out and look at our (w)hole ditch opperation (sic),” wrote the representative, Sal Natoli. “He said we were doing every thing right.”

Natoli could not be reached for comment.

Call Jim Miller, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5521. Follow him on Twitter @jimmiller2.

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