Dig up a street or drain the Silver Lake Reservoir? DWP moves closer to making a decision

It’s been nearly a year since the L.A. DWP announced it was looking at temporarily draining the 800-million gallon Silver Lake Reservoir instead of digging up more than a mile of West Silver Lake Drive to install a new water pipeline.   A final decision has yet to be made but DWP officials said the California Department of Public Health, which regulates public water systems, has tentatively approved the concept  of constructing  a double-wall pipeline within the reservoir as part of what’s called Alternative 4.

“The alternative currently being explored, namely Alternative 4, definitely requires draining the Silver Lake Reservoir for the installation of the water pipeline,” said Ruben L. Rosales with the agency’s Water Engineering and Technical Services division.

Rosales and DWP officials, however, emphasized that no final decision has been made as an environmental review is conducted.  The results of the review and  the latest project developments will be presented at a community meeting before this summer, Rosales said.

The idea of draining the reservoir instead of digging up West Silver Lake Drive would minimize the impact of pipeline construction. But some residents have objected to the plan, saying it would create a muddy, neighborhood eyesore for many months. Last year, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council voted in favor of the installing the pipeline in the reservoir.

Even if the DWP decided to drain the reservoir,  about 1,500 feet of West Silver Lake Drive would still have to be dug up to lay a pipeline, which would then turn into the bed of the reservoir just south of the dam that divides the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe reservoirs.


  1. While the DWP has presented the option of draining the Reservoir as having less impacts than the plan to tunnel under the West Silver Lake Drive route, the reality is quite different. As the post notes, there will be much more open trench digging, and the impacts on draining to the community have NOT been addressed.

    Those impacts include a minimum of 18 months of a dry clay-bottomed lake. The dust concerns of the community from the digging pits on Glendale and Rowena were only a minor amount of relatively easily-mitigated dust sites, compared to the wind-exposed 100+ acre lake bottom and 1500′ of open-trench digging.

    The effects on our treasured Great Blue Heron nesting rookery have not been evaluated either, although we do know the herons left during the 4 month drainage in 2008. Would they abandon their nests after multiple seasons of a dry lake?

    And the impacts to the entire community, including the thousands who enjoy the Reservoir every week on the Path as they walk or jog and relax at the Meadow, are not insignificant. Needless to say, the real estate market will also affect any homeowners who plan to sell during the next few years.

    All these must be adequately presented, minimized, and mitigated before the drainage option is selected. When the Neighborhood Council hastily declared victory and approved this option, they did not consider the impacts of the draining alternative.

  2. Since it is no longer part of our water supply, they should drain it and build low income housing in its place.

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