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Blog: A New Vision for the Future of the Silver Lake Reservoirs

A proposal for Silver Lake sees water-cleansing wetlands, public space, and habitat, all while preserving once the DWP takes the Reservoirs out of service.

One hundred years ago, William Mulholland built the water system that made the City of Los Angeles possible. Not only an engineer, he was a visionary, and he saw its reservoirs as more than water storage — he built them as part of the public trust. They were to serve the people of the city with all the benefits a body of water can bring.

The Silver Lake Reservoirs remain as the crown jewels of that system. Yet within a few years,  the Headworks facility on the north side of Griffith park will go online, replacing the storage capacity of the Reservoirs and fulfilling environmental requirements. 

What will be the future of the Reservoirs, once they're no longer part of that water distribution system? The first of many proposals has now been released, and it shows how we must see the Reservoirs as part of a larger watershed. This means not just the water that would naturally flow into the lakes, but as part of the basins that define our region. These include the Ballona Creek Watershed, the entire Los Angeles River Watershed, and even the artificial system of the Los Angeles DWP. 

Check out the thought-provoking proposal by architect and planner Robert Lamb. A passionate Silver Lake resident, he prepared his proposal for the recent Dry Lands Conference at Woodbury University, which awarded him a research grant. His work shows a future Silver Lake Reservoir with captured stormwater cleaned by a system of wetlands, serving to recharge the underground aquifer, enhance wildlife and plant habitat, and create new public space.

Read about his proposal at the SLRC website. We will be discussing the future of Silver Lake extensively, and this is a great opportunity to begin your own thinking for what will become of our neighborhood treasure. It is also available at Robert Lamb's site.

Water is the issue that will define this century more than any other. Silver Lake may no longer be a part of the Los Angeles water distribution system, but it must have a future that is no less than a world-class solution to the problems we face as we work to preserve that most essential ingredient for life.

It will take much dedicated work by citizens, agencies, academic institutions and various government bodies to build that future. Already, your Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy is helping drive that conversation, and we look forward to an exciting solution that serves us all. 

What do you think?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Maryann Kuk April 24, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Craig has said it all beautifully. Silver Lake and Ivanhoe Reservoirs are in a perfect position to be a part of the necessary better and more efficient use of water in the Los Angeles basin. So many connections already exist, some from the original water distributions system between the LA River and Echo Park Lake. It is just a matter of putting all the pieces together to develop a plan for better water use and recreational use. The tremendous popularity of the barely one-year old Meadow Park demonstrates the need and the joy what a little bit of access to this treasured LADWP property can bring. Let's get it done!
Anthea Raymond (Editor) April 24, 2012 at 09:26 PM
@Maryann- I am a firm believer in the power of wetlands to get things done naturally. What an innovative idea from Robert Lamb that will do away with the concrete. Do others think Silver Lake could handle a more marshy habitat?
Maryann Kuk April 24, 2012 at 11:12 PM
The opportunity here is for some open-minded, creative thinking with lots and lots of community participation. The water reuse/recycle field knows the vast range of possibilities, we don't.....yet. I'm sure there are some that could be developed to sustain this community treasure beautifully.

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