Sometime later this decade the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe reservoirs will no longer store drinking water after the new underground Headworks Reservoir is completed and goes online. What happens next to the Silver Lake reservoirs? City and community leaders have pledged to maintain the reservoirs as open bodies of water – surrounded by a popular walking path and pricey hillside homes – but it will probably be several years before serious discussions and planning begin to decide what if any changes take place. However, at least one person – architect and urban planner Robert Lamb of Silver Lake – has decided to get the ball rolling. Lamb has come up with an idea for the future of the reservoirs called the Silver Lake Microshed. Instead of storing drinking water, the reservoirs would hold and help clean water that would replenish underground aquifers.
The idea calls for reducing the need to pump in imported water by tapping into storm drains and water reclamation plants and expanding the green space around the reservoirs. That water would be filtered and cleaned as it percolates down through new wetlands and parkland, which would reduce the size of the reservoirs, an especially touchy issue for those who have paid top dollar to live with a view of the water.
But, Lamb argues on his website, that “reducing dependence on imported water is critical to the survival of Silver Lake.”
Lamb said his concept which he fleshed out with a $10,000 grant from the Dryland Competition, would cut down on the supply of fresh water pumped into the reservoirs, replenish the underground aquifers that stretch across the L.A. basin and provide more open space for residents as well as wildlife habitat for birds and other animals. Lamb, however, does not have a price tag to bring the Silver Lake Microshed to life but he said it can be built and implemented in stages as funds become available.
Lamb’s idea is just that for now and there are certain to be others that will be hashed out and debated over endless meetings to figure out a solution. Craig Collins, head of the Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy, said the reservoirs must be viewed as part of the larger watersheds that define the entire basin, including the Ballona Creek watershed and the Los Angeles River.