Sitka-based water wholesaler Alaska Bulk Water is getting attention from drought-stricken California.
On Oct. 5, U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., gathered representatives from southern California ports, water districts and Terry Trapp, CEO of Alaska Bulk Water, to judge the feasibility of shipping water from Sitka to southern California.
Hahn told the Daily Breeze newspaper, which covered the meeting, that “Nobody signed up for it, but it’s a very interesting concept. … I think it was an opportunity to think outside the box and it’s a concept that could work for smaller water districts in California.”
California lacks the port facilities for accepting water from Sitka, and the cost of the idea makes it unlikely. Sitka water delivered to California is estimated to cost 6 cents per gallon. The current cost of water in most of southern California’s urban areas is about a half-cent per gallon.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Alaska Gov. Wally Hickel proposed a plastic undersea pipeline to deliver vast quantities of fresh water from Alaska to California.
The idea, which was deemed financially unfeasible, was widely ridiculed. Today, 97 percent of California is in deep drought.
Alaska Bulk Water, which already has a contract to deliver water from Sitka’s Blue Lake to Mexico, expects to use tanker ships, cargo ships, barges or water-filled plastic bags towed behind seagoing ships to deliver its product.