Silver Lake residents have been a bit ornery for the past year or so now, as they suffer through the continued loss of their beloved body of water, the Silver Lake Reservoir. In the summer of 2015, the reservoir was taken offline and drained for the installation of some new and necessary piping to connect to its replacement near Griffith Park (open-air reservoirs are now banned per federal regulations). In that time, residents accustomed to the serene sight of birds floating in their own miniature ocean have had to settle for views of dust floating off the heavy machinery that traverse the massive dirt pit.
When will sweet relief find its way to Silver Lake? When will the waters flow again? What is standing in the way of the reservoir's return? It's a familiar culprit. Drought. It takes one hell of a lot of water to fill a reservoir, and according to Eastsider LA, no one knows for sure where that water is going to come from.
The original plan was to make the fix and fill the reservoir back up with about 400 million gallons of drinking water 12 months later. But that plan was devised way back in 2006, when California had all the water in the world. Some 10 years later, the idea of devoting 400 million gallons of drinking water to a reservoir that's being taken offline is not exactly a priority for California officials rationing the precious resource.
Since filling the reservoir with drinking water is out, as early as 2014 the LADWP was looking into filling the Silver Lake Reservoir with non-potable water from an undetermined source. Stormwater, recycled water, and water from the LA River are all potentials, but, according to LADWP, each option would require "designing and building additional infrastructure." That's gonna take time and money.
Area City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell sees a positive spin on the water delay, though. While the reservoir remains dry, he believes it will give the neighborhood more time to weigh the options for its future. He urged his constituents in a email to view the reservoir as a "blank canvas," asking them to brainstorm ways to "repurpose the area." A group called Silver Lake Forward has already come up with a plan to convert the area into a 96-acre public park, and the longer the reservoir remains a dirt pit, the more opportunity there will be to propose elaborate makeovers of Silver Lake's namesake.
So now it's up to the Silver Lake neighbors so desperately starved for water features. Let your imaginations run wild, plan the reservoir of your dreams, blanket the Internet with renderings, sweet renderings of your perfectly repurposed reservoir project lush with modern park amenities. Someday we just might have enough water to make it happen.