William Shatner in full Captain Kirk mode is looking to marshal a crew for a project with an astronomical budget to deal with California's drought problems.
The Star Trek star has told Yahoo! Tech journalist David Pogue he intends to start a crowdsource campaign on Kickstarter.com to raise $30bn (£20bn) for a pipeline to bring water from the Seattle area for use by thirsty California.
"How bad would it be to get a large, four-foot pipeline, keep it above ground - because if it leaks, you're irrigating," the 84-year-old Shatner told Yahoo! in a story posted on Friday.
"Bring it down here and fill one of our lakes! Lake Mead!" said Shatner, referring to a lake on the border between Arizona and Nevada.
Already, the idea has run into some big obstacle: water experts and public officials are pouring cold water on it.
"Well this isn't the first time I've heard this type of proposition where people think, you know, why don't we bring water from where it exists in the north to where we need it in the south," says Kelly Sanders, an expert in water management and an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Southern California (USC).
"Unfortunately there's a few confounding factors that I think would limit this type of proposal. First off, unlike oil for example, where it makes a lot a sense to move the oil long distances, often across the globe or though pipelines, we're willing to pay for oil so generally oil, you know, oil in southern California or gasoline in Southern California is about six hundred times more expensive per unit of volume as compared to our residential water costs here in LA. So, there's a difference in the amount that we're willing to pay for water and why is that important? Well, it becomes hard to make this economical that you would recoup the cost of building such a pipeline," continues Sanders.
Representatives for Shatner could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. The project had not appeared on Kickstarter's website by Tuesday afternoon.
California is entering the fourth year of a devastating drought that has depleted reservoirs and raised costs of importing fresh water from elsewhere. On Saturday, California water officials presented a revised plan aimed at achieving Governor Jerry Brown's mandate of reducing urban water use by 25 percent. In addition to conservation, Sanders believes there are other sources of water still to tap.
"We do very little water recycling. Even in Southern California, water recycling is about one per cent of our water supply. So, the majority of our treated waste water affluent so, pretty clean water, is discharged to the ocean. And a lot of our storm water is discharged to the ocean, carrying pollution with it as it goes. So, we have a lot of water sources that we're not even utilizing now."
Shatner acknowledged that he might not be able to raise the $30bn, but he said the project would build awareness about California's water needs, according to Yahoo! Tech.
"If I don't make $30bn, I'll give the money to a politician who says, 'I'll build it,'" Shatner told Pogue.