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The Silver Lake Reservoir Will Be Refilled—Probably in Spring

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But how full will it be?

The Silver Lake Reservoir will be refilled, City Councilman David Ryu said Thursday at a local townhall, reassuring hundreds of neighbors whose views of a lovely lake have been replaced with a big dirt pit.

But it probably won't happen until next spring. City officials are still trying to figure out where to get the water and how high to fill the reservoir, which was drained last summer to comply with new federal drinking water rules that forbid untreated, uncovered open air reservoirs.

Ryu spoke to hundreds of residents packed into Micheltorena Elementary School for a meeting on the reservoir's future. Local activists called Refill Silver Lake Now passed out stickers and talked about the ducks that have begun wandering the neighborhood since the reservoir was drained last summer.

Before the reservoir can be refilled, construction in the lakebed must first be completed on pipes that will carry drinking water to a new underground storage facility under construction near Griffith Park. That facility will replace Silver Lake and Ivanhoe Reservoirs. And, with the reservoir’s connections to the local water supply disconnected, new pipes will have to be installed to cycle water in and out of the lake. Otherwise, the stagnant water will quickly become laden with bacteria and algae. That’s expected to add a few months to the lake’s time as an empty hole in the ground.

DWP Director of Water Operations Marty Adams said water could once again cover the floor of the reservoir in May or June of 2017.

Where will the water come from? DWP has a few ideas:

  • Extend the recycled water system that irrigates the golf course at Griffith Park so that it reaches Silver Lake—and possibly beyond. Both Echo and MacArthur Park Lakes are filled with drinking water. In the future, Adams suggests the bodies of water could all be fed from the same (non-potable) source.
  • Reactivate a groundwater well just north of the reservoir.
  • Collect stormwater to mitigate the effects of evaporation on the surface of the lake.
  • The LA River, but that a complicated permitting process would make this all but impossible in the near term.

Officials said that while the lake is empty, residents should help to come up with a plan for its future.

They have to determine how full should the reservoir be, for example. A shallower lake would be easier to keep clean and would make future work in and around the reservoir easier to accomplish. It could also help to foster a wetlands area in which the water would be naturally filtered by wildlife, Adams said.

Adams also suggested that while construction continues inside the reservoir, some of the unsightly asphalt that lines its sides could be removed and replaced with hydroseeding to prevent erosion.

One thing’s for sure: Most of the residents who attended the meeting are not interested in a damn park! The loudest cheers of the evening came when a woman informed the officials at the meeting that Silver Lake did not want to hear about alternative uses for the reservoir—just a quick refill.

There was also nearly a riot when City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell raised the prospect of landscaping the path around the lake, making the mistake of comparing the project to Echo Park Lake and saying future public meetings would be a "marketplace of ideas." From the back of the room, one woman shouted, "It’s not a marketplace. It’s a community!"

This was the first of three meetings to be held concerning the reservoir; the second will focus on future plans for Silver Lake. As Ryu noted in his closing remarks, that meeting is sure to be lively.

Silver Lake Reservoir

1850 W Silver Lake Dr, , CA 90039