Reservoir Refill: DWP prepares to provide answers on the future of the Silver Lake Reservoir

reservoir pipe

Silver Lake Reservoir | Barry Lank


SILVER LAKE — Whatever the city does – or does not do with the Silver Lake Reservoir, people in the neighborhood mostly want to hear a clear plan for refilling it, Catherine Geanuracos said.

Residents are concerned about not knowing what the plan is and the timeline for getting water back into the reservoir,  said Geanuracos, who is treasurer and secretary of Silver Lake Forward, an advocacy group dedicated to moving this planning process along. “There’s a lot of anxiety, and it’s unfortunate.”

That chance to reduce some of that anxiety comes tomorrow, Thursday, June 30, when representatives from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power hold a town hall meeting with the public. In a press release, the DWP said it will discuss the timing and the water source for the refill.

The reservoir was drained last year to construct a pipeline along the reservoir bed as part of a much larger water-quality improvement project. The original plan had been to refill the reservoir from the same potable sources as before.

But as the plan moved forward, so did California’s drought — and by the time the actual draining started, conservation mandates from Gov. Jerry Brown and Mayor Eric Garcetti had already led the DWP to consider non-potable sources. An LADWP press release said those could include the Los Angeles River, recycled water, or storm runoff.

But new water sources mean new pipes and infrastructure to capture the water and bring it in. That additional construction could leave the reservoir empty longer than residents expected.

“The Silver Lake community and especially the immediate neighbors to the lake have endured construction and an empty lake bed for much too long,” said Tom Drew, the spokesperson for Refill Silver Lake Now, another advocacy group for this issue. His group, he said, “prefers that DWP stands by what they promised three-and-a-half years ago, which was well into the current drought, that they would refill the reservoir once the pipe bypass project was finished with drinking water and thus in as quick a fashion as possible.”

The Town Hall meeting with LADWP – hosted by City Councilmembers David Ryu and Mitch O’Farrell – takes place Thursday, June 30, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Micheltorena Street Elementary School, 1511 Micheltorena St. Parking is available on school property.

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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  1. The only justification for using public funds to refill the reservoir is if the fences are all taken down and the entire space is made a public park like Echo Park Lake.

    • Indeed… seems like that’d be a NIMBY sh*storm for the city though. Lots of entitled 1%ers up in those hills.

  2. That headline might need a proof read.

  3. Catherine Geanuracos is also the driving force behind Swim Silver Lake / swimming pool and a development group that had moved into Hollywood and developing all those high rises!

  4. Let’s make sure to do the best thing with it, not the fastest. Which implies a transformation of the shoreline.
    Of course, DWP is not the parks department, which is why they don’t really seem to care.

  5. The original plan for potable water was to hold Silver Lake as a backup source of drinking water in the event an earthquake or other damages the city’s water system. I do hold serious value in a backup — too often governments don’t bother with any backup, and then when the s— hits the fan, there is disaster. This backup was a good idea.

    If we are going to go with non-potable water (and the water in the LA River is that, it is majority recycled water from the sewage plants, not the natural flow for the river), then it is true, there would be no justification to keep the lake fenced off, it should be opened to the public — but not for fishing or swimming, as it would not be potable water, would be recycled sewage.

    But building an entirely new water system just to deliver non-potable water seems a drastic waste of money when potable water can fill it AND double as a smart backup reservoir for free.

  6. I vote dor making it into a park

  7. Part of the magic of the area is the water in the lake. That is why so many people walk or jog around the lake. I support filling it back up and keeping it as it was. Don’t ruin it.

  8. Whatever they do, DO NOT open this up for the public to invade and pollute. It’s nice to see the ducks in there, but not a horde of people. However, I am sure that the PCers will try to ruin the place for all.

    • How does opening the lake to people become a PC endeavor? It seems like a good use of current inaccessible civic space.

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