Lady Gaga’s Hearst pool filling not OK with state

February 18, 2014

hearst_castle_poolBy 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 ( 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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I see in Fridays KSBY site that Nick Franco the head of the Castle for the state has been put on paid leave at the last day of the Gaga shoot no one is saying that it was because of Gaga but it looks to be that way.

The higher ups got real pissy over this, Franco has been at the castle for many years and seems to have always done a good job.

Jorge Estrada

The missed opportunity is to bottle the water and sell it as Gaga Juice.



One of the best comments I have seen, ever, on CCN !

Absolutely brilliant !


$275.000. A public service announcement. All the publicity the video brings to a- yes tourist destination- win win win. State officials should know better and sure should have authorized it. Some one has a problem with Gaga. Not me. Can’t wait to see video. More water is wasted by faulty and badly managed irrigation by far.


You know why the state is pissy don’t you,its because they didn’t get a cut of what went on, the foundation that raises money to keep some of the projects on the castle grounds in repair got the money,beside the state officals on the castle grounds OK’d the deal or it wouldn’t have been done.

The water used was from Hearst ranch,not the states water, and is no way connected to any water district so whining about water usage by some of the crackpots in the paper is a waste of time,and one more thing the pool was not empty it was down about 100 thousand gallons not 300 thousand.


I can’t believe the states lame story. They didn’t know. Well someone did. I don’t believe Gaga came in said to her help, hey go turn that spigot on over there and fill the pool.

I have to believe a grounds person would do that. Also someone famous is coming by you don’t ask…………hey why are you coming?………. Have to believe there was a conversation at some point with some one that someone in her party said……….this is our plan.

It may not have made it’s way all the way up through channels but someone who works for the state and is on the STATES payroll had to authorize turning that spigot on. That is who the issue is with and if the state uppers don’t know what is going on with those on their payroll, maybe we need to fire and hire some people who are competent enough!!!


This article states “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.”

Keep in mind that this is the same state parks system that came under intense scrutiny last year and according to the Sacramento Bee;

“A new probe of financial scandals at the California Department of Parks and Recreation found that officials maintained a hidden cash surplus for as long as 20 years – far longer than previously known.

The investigation by the California state auditor, released Thursday, tracked a surplus going back to 1993 in the State Parks and Recreation Fund, the primary fund that collects and disburses revenue generated by the 278 state parks.”

So I tend to agree with the post by rOy, that someone in Lady Gaga’s entourage didn’t bend over and kiss the correct government ring.


The cynic in me feels like this is nothing more than someone forgot to bow down and kiss the correct government ring…

It is their water. It is their pool. Oh wait, they forgot to file (in triplicate) the proper forms in order to comply with the Office of State Compliance?


The cynic in me says that you are not a cynic.

Russ J

Who gives a rip? Why don’t we vilify all the farmers who’ve converted cow pastures to berries and grapes in the last 15 years? No one’s complaining about them. $$$$$$$$$$$ (and low wage farm jobs)


Pool emptied, water used for irrigation…pool filled at a enormous profit (water on site elsewhere) …pool water then used for irrigation. “Trickle down” finally realized.


Nicely put, Al.