What’s next for Silver Lake’s reservoirs?

Photo by M. Scott Deserti/Flickr

City officials and community leaders gathered this morning on a field near Griffith Park for the ground breaking of what will eventually be a pair of giant, underground water storage tanks.  The buried Headworks Reservoir – with a capacity to hold 110 million gallons of water – will help the LADWP meet federal water guidelines and serve as a replacement for the above ground Silver Lake and Ivanhoe reservoirs.  So, what happens to the Silver Lake reservoirs once they are no longer part of the city’s water supply?

The plan for now is that the reservoirs, surrounded by a popular walking path, dog park, meadow and expensive hillside homes, to remain open bodies of water.  But beyond that the details – ranging from whether the land surrounding the water will be turned into park space or if that black chain link fence will be removed – will still need to be worked out in what will be lengthy process. Todd Leitz, spokesman for Silver Lake councilman Tom LaBonge, said there is an expectation of further improvements and community investment in the reservoir property. “It’s an ongoing dialogue that’s going to happen between the DWP, the city and community.”

Any changes, however, remain years away.  The Silver Lake reservoirs can’t be put out of service until their $230 million underground counterparts are completed. The first underground concrete reservoir- which will replace the Ivanhoe reservoir, the smaller of the two Silver Lake reservoirs – is not expected to be operating until 2014, according to the DWP.   The replacement for the larger Silver Lake reservoir, which has still not bee financed, is tentatively scheduled to be finished in 2017.

Craig Collins, head of the Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy,* a nonprofit group that has been involved in reservoir issues,  said the construction of the Headworks project marks the beginning of a new era for Silver Lake’s reservoirs.  “We are working to ensure that the next chapter in the life of the Silver Lake Reservoirs will include improved public space, enhanced wildlife habitat, more efficient use of the DWP’s scarce water supply, and will contribute towards the restoration of the watershed we all depend on.”

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* The Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy is an Eastsider advertiser.


  1. It would be pretty rad if, once the water is no longer needed for drinking, they eventually ditched the chain link fence and extended the jogging path and park spaces to the edge of the water. Also, what’s up wit the Rowena Reservoir on Hyperion… is that ever going to be opened to the public? It seems like such a waste to have that nice space renovated bit still fenced off from the neighborhood.

  2. The neighbors around Rowena didn’t want it open to the public, they just wanted a private viewshed.

    • Viewshed is so apt. I’ll be using that from now on. Nice.

    • I thought there was an issue with the electrical equipment on the site. I find it hard to believe that a few anti-social nimby’s are all that’s keeping that space closed.

  3. pedal boats! (or is that paddle?)

  4. I say drain it and extend the dog park.

  5. Floating condos brought to you by 15 Group.

  6. I say drain the smaller body of water fill it with sand and call it hipster beach.

  7. Hopefully they won’t decide to sell the land to a developer ….

    • The more we as Silver Lake stakeholders push for and get access to and public space in it, the less likely this becomes. It’s hard to imagine the community doing nothing if forced to give up the pedestrian paths, the dog park, the rec center, and the meadow now.

      • It would be a frontrunner to win the LA Irony Lifetime Achievement Award if the very body of water for which the community is named were to be so ignominiously developed out of existence.

        • Agreed. I’m with corner soul, too. I hope they find ways for us to get to the water and dip our toes in it.

    • I think the reservoir grounds were valued at something like $27m 15 years ago. silverlake population is rich enough they could buy it.

  8. please, faux italian or faux spanish or faux something!!!!!!!


  10. JET SKIS!

  11. Whale watching. You heard it here first.

  12. Fill them in and make a huge park.

  13. Perhaps they could drain it, build replicas of the Red Lion Tavern, Cha Cha Lounge, Coffee Table and the Dog Park inside of the hole that’s left and after it fills with hipster sheep not smart enough to realize the difference (which really should be just about all of them), we cover it over with dirt and pack it down nicely.

    Now THAT is a plan.

  14. Well, awhile back it was pointed out that the Reservoir site is a former swamp. For pre-Hispanic LA, that means there may have been a Native American village located nearby. So how about a floating casino?

    • It’s about time someone comes up with creative ideas that benefit the community. Casino and small airport would be the best combo.

  15. Don’t drain it please. I think it gives such a fun uniqueness to the area. Take the fence down sure. Re landscape the area yes! (no poka dots) jet skis.. yuck.

  16. Drain it – instant asymetrical velodrome!

  17. I don’t see the DWP allowing contact with the water. They’ve said that their plans include using Silver Lake Reservoir as an emergency water source should our major supply lines into the city break in an earthquake.

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