DWP board votes to cover up Elysian Park reservoir

Advocates of Elysian Park and their allies have waged a 25-year-long battle against a plan to cover up the nearly century-old Elysian Reservoir with a metal or rubber cover. Today, they lost that battle.  The L.A. Department of Water and Power commissioners voted in favor of slapping a synthetic rubber cover – dismissed by one critic as a “rubber mat” – across the 55-million gallon reservoir, rejecting a much more expensive proposal that would build underground storage tanks topped by new park space.  The DWP, which must replace  its above-ground reservoirs to meet federal water quality guidelines, said the rubberized cover that would float above the water would cost about $15 million. In contrast, building an underground reservoir that would allow for the creation of new park space, a plan supported by park advocates, would cost $110 million.

Members of the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park and other groups had argued that it would be unfair to simply cover up the Elysian Reservoir when the DWP has approved the building of costly underground storage tanks to preserve the Silver Lake reservoirs, which will no longer store drinking water but will remain uncovered.

In addition to covering Elysian Reservoir with a rubber cover, the DWP will also spend about $3.5 million in improvements to the surrounding park, including planting new trees, improving trails and bathroom facilities and building a new water line.  Also the DWP also will establish a $12.5 million park improvement fund.

Located about half mile north of Dodger Stadium, the approximately seven-acre Elysian Reservoir _-which supplies water to about 285,000 people in Downtown Los Angeles, Chinatown, Echo Park, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, and Mount Washington –  fills a canyon next to the 110 Freeway.


  1. Maybe they can patrol the area a little more and scoot all the gay hustlers away so the kids can play and hike without being ogled at.

    • Adult gay cruising and pedophilia are two entirely different things. Stop perpetuating an ignorant falsehood and using the “protection of children” to justify your childish discomfort with gay sex.

  2. This is the neglected and underused part of Elysian Park (except for all the cruising). The existing reservoir is pretty ugly — all concrete and chain link fencing — but the proposed cover sounds even worse.

  3. If the silver lake reservoir isn’t going to hold water, they should really should fill it in and turn it into additional parkland. You could fit a lot of soccer fields for the kids in all that space. It seems better to me than maintaining an artificial lake.

  4. Bum, that would be condos and small lot developments sooner than you could say soccer.

  5. Mmmm, that water’s going to taste good! Kinda like how it tastes when it’s been in a bottle in the hot car for a while.

  6. Time for a lawsuit. This is extreme. This cannot stand. This is the very thing the Citizen’s Committee to Save Elysian Park was created to fight. This should be priority number 1, and all funds should be directed to a major lawsuit.

    Frankly, this is pay back by the DWP — because the City Council demands it turn over a notable amount of its funds to the city’s general fund for the Council members to spend as they please — and clearly, they do not please to spend it on a proper project in Elysian Park. The Council definitely could fund a proper project, whether through the DWP budget or the Parks budget. Garcetti, even when he was Council president, showed no interest in doing so, just led the fight to grab the DWP money, clearly for his other interests.

    FILE A LAWSUIT. Thee Citizens Committee has PLENTY of money in it coffers to do so. This is what that money is for.

  7. Why don’t you fork out the extra 100million for the park? Stop wasting the city’s money with lawsuits because your pet project didn’t go through.

  8. A lawsuit is right. That is a huge violation of CEQA. DWP is allowed in the park only insofar as it does not blight the parks. And blight on a park is a major violation of CEQA. Gee, this is now the absolute worst kind of industrial blight imaginable.

    Elbatmanuel and Pretty Whiny, I’m sorry, but you show you have not the least idea of what you are talking about. You have no idea how this park even came to still be there. This is NOT the first attack on this park. And it will not be the last. And it is the ONLY reservoir getting this trashy treatment!

    They spent a LOT more than that simply to save a water view of the rich people in Silver Lake, and also for a beautifully landscaped area around the Rowena reservoir for the rich people living there in Los Feliz. The $110 M here is a lot less than just either of those two. But then, rich people’s views aren’t at stake, are they.

    The open reservoir has been akin to a lake view. Now it is proposed to make it akin to and industrial district view! And meanwhile, the City Council is making the DWP turn over more than that much to the general fund — even though that money is NOT tax funds, is money ratepayers paid for such projects as this.

    • “I’m sorry, but you show you have not the least idea of what you are talking about… And it is the ONLY reservoir getting this trashy treatment!”

      Two words for you: Eagle Rock.

      • Many DWP reservoirs have rubber covers. Heck, Ivanhoe had a rubber cover back in the 1930’s.

        @ El Batmanuael
        Eagle Rock, Green Verdugo, Franklin and Solano Reservoirs are covered. Elysian Res also was supposed to be covered but was not completed.Look closely at the Reservoir and you will see the original concrete footings for the never built wooden roof.

  9. alternative solutions

    It sounds like a more research needs to be done about alternative ways to preserve the water. It’s a shame that the easy solution seems to be a rubber mat… but I’m not saying to build a $110 million dollar park either. Has anyone seen Jay Harman’s Lily Impeller? It might not be the exact solution for this problem, but a 6-inch spiral propeller capable of circulating five million gallons of water and requiring only a little energy seems to open the doors to possibilities beyond just a cover up solution.

    • Federal regulation require that all drinking water reservoirs need to be covered or,if not, taken out of service.

      • Wrong. The Federal regulations allow other options. For instance, they could instead put in a filtration facility. That could be placed maybe down on Broadway by the train tracks, with a pipe to the facility from an open reservoir in the park. Other options could be done, too. The DWP just finds covering to be easiest. Generally speaking, the federal regulation requires a water standard to be met — how the city meets it is up to the city.

  10. Isn’t there a covered resevoir over off Coldwater, too. Hardly a poor neighborhood.

  11. Alternative Solutions, I don’t know if the impeller would help unless it would eliminate the addition of bromide for potability. The problem is that sunlight causes the formation of carcinogenic bromate.

  12. As a show of good faith and general do-goodery, could our new Dodger’s owner pick up this tiny tab? That would be AWESOME!!!!!!

  13. Have they considered the impact to wildlife?

  14. I would like the reservoir emptied and turned into a giant skate-park. I am willing to die of thirst for that or even worse buy cases of bottled water from Walgreens.

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