Lady Gaga’s Hearst pool filling not OK with state
February 18, 2014
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
Lady Gaga’s much publicized video-taping gig at Hearst Castle Feb. 11 had everything a fan of the singer could imagine — music, dancing, plastic swans, fake flowers, and a giant seashell — everything, it seems except proper authorization to fill the castle’s famous pool.
The event necessitated filling of the 345,000-gallon pool from storage facilities on the property. The entertainer is producing a public service announcement and a “special short feature” on the castle.
State Parks Department officials did not authorize filling of the pool, said Deputy Public Affairs Director Vicky Waters. The castle is part of the state parks system.
A few weeks before Lady Gaga wanted to have her picture taken in front of the pool, the pool was drained completely because castle personnel determined it was leaking an estimated 5,000 gallons of water daily. The draining was heralded by local media and castle officials as a water conservation action.
According to a press release issued prior to the event by the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation, “no outside water was used” for the event. It originated in springs located on the Hearst property.
Efforts to reach Hearst Castle Superintendent Nick Franco were unsuccessful. Waters declined comment on Franco, saying, “That’s a personnel matter.”
The Lady Gaga event occurred amid a serious water shortage in California following three straight dry years, and nearly simultaneously with new water conservation measures announced by Gov. Jerry Brown and a visit to barren lands in Kern County by President Barack Obama.
Waters said Lady Gaga and the representatives of the foundation “will pay the cost to replenish any lost water, and will be required to participate in the state water conservation program (www.saveourh2o.org). She’s already contributed more than $275,000 to the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation.
Telephone calls to Hearst Castle, the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation, and a variety of related entities seeking comment went unanswered.
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