Silver Lake survey supports refilling reservoir; but do residents agree on anything else?

Emptied Silver Lake Reservoir | Courtesy LADWP

Emptied Silver Lake Reservoir | Courtesy LADWP


SILVER LAKE – In what probably should come as no surprise, a survey indicates Silver Lake residents want the reservoir refilled. But there may be less agreement on everything else.

In a survey by the Silver Lake Reservoir Conservancy, more than 800 Silver Lake residents rated their level of support (from “strongly oppose” to strongly support”) for such possible uses as “More space for picnics,” “Public art installations” and merely “More benches.”

Of all those options, keeping water in the reservoir got the highest percentage of support, according to Andrew Thomas of True Analytics, who gathered and analyzed the results: 96 percent of respondents marked “strongly support.”

“This is remarkable because there isn’t this much agreement on anything,” Thomas said. “You can’t get this many people to agree that wheels should be round.”

The survey was created and sent out early this year, before the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said they might not refill the reservoir with potable water. So the debate has changed in some ways since the survey was written.

Still, Dave Keitel, president of the SLRC, said, “Our survey results suggest strong support for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s existing plan to refill the reservoir in spring of 2017.”

The next highest score from the survey was about traffic, Thomas said: 86 percent said they were greatly concerned about traffic – while 14 percent said they were either not concerned or had no opinion.

Maryann Kuk, a SLRC board member, said some of the additional comments showed a trend.

“Almost to a person, they said the reason why they liked Silver Lake is that it was an oasis in the middle of a chaotic city,” Kuk said. “And of course, the true definition of an oasis has water.”

The SLRC plans to release further results measuring support for removing the asphalt banks, expanding the walking path inside the fence through the eucalyptus grove, removing the fence altogether, protecting wildlife, building Silver Lake Swim, adding bathrooms, allowing boating, and other amenities.

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 LADWP is holding a meeting on Sept. 20 at John Marshall High School to update the community on the construction project, the plan to refill the reservoir and other improvement options.

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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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.


  1. Well, that’s not very many people on which to base an entire community’s outlook! There are what, 60,000 in the SLNC area. The story says these surveys were sent out — why was one not sent to me, I live in Silver Lake! (I would agree, fill the reservoir. How can you call a neighborhood Silver Lake if it has no lake!)

    They send no notice of even the SLNC elections! Hmm, maybe except to these VIP 800.

    • Hey J.W., according to what I read on the SLRC website the survey was sent to 3,400 randomly selected residents, so that’s may be why you didn’t receive one. I live in an apartment and got one. 800 respondents for this sample size is actually really good, with only a +/-4% margin of error.

    • There are actually 14,000 residents in the Silver Lake boundaries as stipulated by the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. The survey was sent to about every 4th resident. Random sampling is very similar to political polls that ask a representative number of people,( vs. all of the voters in Ohio or all millennials) :how they feel about a particular issue. From that sample they get a % or trend.

      Given that SLRC got 800 returned out of 3400 sent, which was excellent by statistical standards.

    • Is the full survey, including the questionnaire and the results, fully available online? I’m interested in research design and methodology, and I’d like to see how the questions and options were presented to those that responded. Sample size is just one part of good research design and validity.

    • I found it. Thanks.

  2. Well, that says to me that the DWP should refill the reservoir asap. The other details can be hashed out in a more longterm debate.

  3. Good article Barry. I’m glad to see those numbers from the survey finally getting released. Let’s get the water back in and then plan for the future.

  4. The numbers also seem to indicate (it’s hard to tell by the vague wording) that most residents support DWPs plan to refill in May with reclaimed water not Refill Silver Lake Now’s demand that the reservoir be refilled in December with potable water in the middle of a historic drought.

  5. In thinking about the future of the Reservoir complex, here’s a good article that highlights the benefits of planning with the larger city in mind, not just as balkanized neighborhoods and homeowners. Highlighting the planning approach of Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett in Chicago, it demonstrates the benefits of looking at history and other cities to see what has worked in them, while also looking forward. For those that might be confused, that means considering approaches and ideas, not taking other cities’ specific plans and their execution literally. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/livable-city/la-ol-zoning-density-housing-20160729-snap-story.html

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