There is no plan – let alone a budget – that spells out what happens after the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe reservoirs are disconnected from the city’s potable water supply. But that has not kept residents from coming up with ideas and dreams about what to do next. Architect Robert Lamb, for example, has proposed reducing the size of reservoirs, creating wetlands and tapping into storm drains to reduce the use of increasingly valuable drinking water. Silver Lake resident Catherine Geanuracos made a big splash this week with a concept to turn the Ivanhoe Reservoir, the smaller of the two reservoirs, into a pubic swimming complex. Today, the Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy set up an outdoor display of other possibilities – How about turning the dam between the two reservoirs into the Ivanhoe Esplanade ? – dealing with recreation and water conservation.
Conservancy President Craig Collins said the organization, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the reservoirs and surrounding open space, has not taken a position on any of the ideas. Instead, for now, the group wants to try and capture the public’s imagination of what’s possible to benefit the neighborhood as well as the entire the city in the form recreation as well as water conservation.
The rendering of the Ivanhoe Esplanade, shown as part of the conservancy’s Silver Lake 2020 effort, is one of the possibilities. “It’s an imaginative concept where some people could stroll across [the dam between the two reservoirs] and just really enjoy being between these two bodies of water, however they end up looking,” Collins said.
The other possibilities that Collin’s group wants to draw attention to are less sexy than an esplanade or a giant outdoor swimming complex. They deal with refilling the reservoirs with recycled water and storm run off and softening or replacing the reservoir’s concrete banks and creating wetlands.
The Department of Water and Power, which operates the reservoirs, has also not indicated what the future holds for the reservoirs. Last year, the agency informed residents it would drain the Silver Lake Reservoir beginning in late 2014 or early 2015 for about 12 months to build a new water pipeline on the bed of the reservoir. The reservoirs would be refilled to “historic levels” after the pipeline is completed, according to an agency official. But the agency has said nothing beyond that.
The completion of the pipeline project and giant new underground water tanks near Griffith Park will mark the beginning of a new era for the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe reservoirs, which will no longer be used to store drinking water after more than a century of service.