By BARRY LANK
SILVER LAKE – Refilling the Silver Lake Reservoir comes up for discussion again this week as residents ponder how it will be refilled and what happens after the water returns.
Representatives from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are holding another community meeting Tuesday, Sept. 20 — a follow-up to their June meeting — in which the DWP estimated the reservoir would start refilling next spring.
“We expect (the DWP) to show proposals for enhancement of the sides and show proposals for future enhancement and restoration,” said Jill Cordes, co-founder of Refill Silver Lake Now. “We need DWP to commit to a feasibility study to gauge what the community wants [and] then take it from there.”
But Amanda Parsons, a spokesperson for the DWP, said department representatives at this meeting will only discuss refilling the reservoir.
“This meeting will focus on restoring water to the reservoir, the options, timeline, etc.,” Parsons said. “It will not discuss future uses for the site.”
The reservoir was drained last year to construct a pipeline along the reservoir bed as part of a much larger water-quality improvement project. Initially, it was to be refilled with potable water as before. But because of the drought, the DWP began looking for non-potable sources.
“It’s important that the community understand earlier plans to use potable water would not be appropriate in the midst of our historic drought, would be in violation of the Governor’s Directive on Water Conservation, and send a poor signal of financial management,” said Craig Collins, a board member of Silver Lake Forward.
But some residents of Silver Lake have expressed impatience with delays.
“Our incredible frustration with this is that they drained it at the height of the drought, with the promise in writing that they would refill it in December or January with potable water,” Cordes said. “If they knew we were in a drought and they knew they weren’t going to refill it with potable, then why in the world did they not plan for that and work on a reclaimed, sustainable water source during the entire construction plan?”
Parsons said the DWP still aims to refill the reservoir next May, as described in the June 30 meeting.
A recent survey by the Silver Lake Reservoir Conservancy shows virtually unanimous support for reservoir, However, residents show less unity on what else to do with the space.
“I do not support any ‘repurposing’ of the reservoir. Especially turning it into a park,” said Anne-Marie Johnson, speaking as a resident of Silver Lake, and not in her official position as member of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council.
But Collins suggests, “The future of Silver Lake Reservoirs can be imaginative public space, which we sorely need and which the public has embraced through such successes as the Pedestrian Path and Silver Lake Meadow.”
The community meeting with the DWP takes place Sept. 20, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the John Marshall High School, 3939 Tracy Street.
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Barry Lank grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, then went away for a seriously long time. He has worked in TV and radio, and currently helps produce The Final Edition Radio Hour.
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