Residents organize one more time against Elysian Park reservoir cover up*

Photo from DWP website

An approximately 25-year-old battle over a reservoir in Elysian Park has flared up once again as park advocates mobilize against a proposal to cover the surface of the 55-million gallon reservoir with what one resident describes as a “rubber mat.”  The commissioners of the Department of Water and Power are expected to vote next month on covering the nearly century-old Elysian Reservoir with a synthetic rubber sheet, reversing a previous decision to replace the reservoir with underground water tanks topped by landscaped parkland. The DWP staff has now decided it can no longer afford the underground tanks and landscaping,  favoring the less expensive floating cover, said Pete Lassen with the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park.

The committee  is asking residents opposed to the cover to contact the commissioners regarding the matter, said Lassen. “Their idea is to put a rubber mat over it,” Lassen said of the reservoir located in a deep ravine north of Dodger Stadium. “Going for the cheapest solution is not going for the best solution.”


  1. Toxic drinking water

  2. From what I’ve read a cover will cost around 100 million less than burying tanks, plus there would be significantly less construction required. I’ve ridden my bike up to that Resivior, it’s not a beautiful natural feature, it’s a giant concrete hole in the ground surrounded by a chain link fence.

  3. Rowena reservoir in Silver Lake used to be a giant concrete hole in the ground surrounded by chainlink. Now it’s an underground tank topped by beautifully landscaped grounds surrounded by an even stronger fence and residents who are damn happy it’s completely off-limits to the public.

    At the Elysian reservoir there’s an opportunity to beautify and better that section of the park FOR the public. I’m not writing the checks so I should probably STFU, but the purported $100 million in savings that will come from its further uglyification by covering it in a giant rubber blanket isn’t money well saved.

  4. If you’re a dwp customer you are writing checks for this. Im worried about water rates, dwp says they dont have the money for it that means we’re all going to have to pay for this with higher rates. I guess the question I ask then is a grassy area the size of a football field worth 100 million? How “beautiful” do we expect this area to really be? You can’t plant trees over it they could turn it into a sports field or a playground, but Elysian park already has these types of facilities.

  5. I just wanted to add that I’m not against beautifying the park, it’s the price tag that I don’t agree with. If the city had the money and they could do this without raising rates and complying with federal regulation, I’d support it, but they can’t.

  6. Is the chemical content of the rubber top a legitimate concern? Baking in the sun and possibly leaching things into the water underneath? That’s what I would like to know….

    This comes from someone who avoids water from plastic water bottles as much as possible.

  7. Because of the potential for terrorist or biological attacks, federal laws (passed in 2011) require that all open air reservoirs be covered. The Silver Lake/Ivanhoe reservoirs will be replaced by the Headworks Project, a new subterranean reservoir near the northwestern edge of Griffith Park. The cost according to DWP is well over $100M and will result in fee hikes – which DWP is asking for now but can’t receive due to the wait on a hiring a ratepayer advocate.

    As far as Elysian Park’s reservoir, I speculate that the blowback from the request for rate hikes (associated with the Headworks Project) and the unreasonable financial strain caused by converting open air reservoirs is forcing them to rethink less expensive alternatives.

    The real question is once Headworks is on-line in 2017, what will happen to the Silver Lake/Ivanhoe reservoirs?

  8. I believe dwp has stated they’re turning the land over to rec and parks

  9. @ El batmanuel – Sweet. I’ll supply the popcorn and we can watch the Eastsider forums fill up with bickering over what’s more important to provide parkland for – kids or dogs. 😉

  10. @Will Campbell: I really wish the city would open the Rowena reservoir to the public. It’s such a shame to have that beautiful public space (which I assume our taxes made possible) fenced off from the neighborhood. Maybe the mayor can incorporate it into his plan to open more pocket parks.

  11. I lived by the Rowena reservoir for 6 years, and always wanted to go into that park! I remember clearly the first time I went for a jog in my new neighborhood, I think I must have gone around it three times looking for a way in, because I just couldn’t believe that there would be this lovely little park that you couldn’t use! What a waste!

  12. @ Cristi: DWP might not have enough money to build Headworks so a cover might be in the future for Ivanhoe(would be the second cover for it). The plain fact is DWP income is going down every year due to less water usage.

    Rowena will probably never be opened to the public due to liability issues.

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