Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy?
SLRC is a tax-exempt, all-volunteer and non-profit corporation established in 1988. Originally known as the Committee to Save Silver Lake's Reservoirs (CSSLR), it was created in response to LADWP's announced plan to cover part of the reservoir and to build an industrial-style filtration plant on-site (where the Meadow Park now sits). In 2009, CSSLR changed its name to the Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy (SLRC).
What is SLRC's mission?
SLRC is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the historical, aesthetic, ecological and recreational benefits of Silver Lake's open waters and surrounding open space. SLRC works to reflect community preferences regarding the property and advocates accordingly. While the reservoirs are part of the city water supply system, the SLRC will provide education about water quality, projects, and their impacts on the community. SLRC's vision is to facilitate the transition of the decommissioned reservoir property and to explore new opportunities regarding open space, education, recreation, watershed, wildlife, native plants, natural habitats, and land use once the reservoirs go off-line.
Who are its members?
SLRC is not a membership organization. It is governed by a board of directors, which serves on a volunteer basis and considers all users of the property to be its constituents/stakeholders. More than 80 community members have served on its board since its inception. As of August 2016, its board consists of the following community members:
- Stephanie Bartron
- Leslie Edmonds
- Herb Gold
- Lora Hall
- Brian Janeczko
- Dave Keitel
- Maryann Kuk
- Shelley Marks
- Gabe Mason
- Marilyn Oliver
- Andrew Thomas
- Rachel Tucker
What is the source of SLRC's funding?
Many of its activities require little to no funding, and are supported by the volunteer efforts of its board members as well as community members. Beyond that, SLRC has gratefully received support from a number of local businesses. SLRC has occasionally received grant funding for its projects as well as individual donations from community members.
What has SLRC done in the past?
In the 1990s, SLRC worked closely with LADWP as part of a citywide mediation process that was created as part of a legal settlement. SLRC worked with LADWP to hire a contractor to create the Master Plan for the Silver Lake Reservoirs, worked with the contractor to engage the community and to finalize the document (which was approved by LADWP Board of Commissioners in 2000). SLRC then lobbied for public funding of the most critical projects in the Master Plan: to create a safe, dedicated pedestrian pathway around the lakes. That funding came from both state and local sources, and 95% of that pedestrian path was built in three phases over the next 13 years. SLRC worked with LADWP and its contractor to ensure that the design and construction of each phase met community needs and expectations.
SLRC also helped Council District 13 overcome numerous hurdles to the completion of Silver Lake Meadow, which opened in 2011 and has since become a cherished community amenity. SLRC has also advocated for additional, smaller improvements, and communicated a number of community concerns to City Council representatives.
What is SLRC doing now?
In early 2016 SLRC developed and distributed a survey to assess the current thinking and concerns of the community. It was randomly sent to 3,400 households within the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council boundaries and had a very high percentage of returns. The responses were analyzed and will be used to guide SLRC in advocating for community preferences to City Council offices, LADWP, and other impacted/involved City agencies. Those results may be viewed here.
Recently, SLRC secured maintenance funding from both Council Members for the path and the landscaping around the path. SLRC, with community participation, has refurbished the Armstrong portion of the path (also known as the Up & Over). Additional planting, mulch, and irrigation have been done by SLRC and the community.
We have procured benches in Silver Lake Meadow, along the path, and in Olive Grove Park. We worked with Recreation & Parks and LADWP for installation. SLRC has partnered with the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council to maintain the Native Plant Garden in Silver Lake Meadow. SLRC has also worked with the Neighborhood Council to purchase and install bag dispensers along the walking path to encourage responsible dog ownership.
ABOUT THE RESERVOIRS
How were the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe reservoirs named?
Within the residential community of Silver Lake lies the namesake reservoir composed of two basins, Silver Lake and Ivanhoe. The larger body of water was named in 1906 for Water Board Commissioner, Herman Silver, and in turn lends its name to the neighborhood. The smaller, northern reservoir was named after the 1819 Sir Walter Scott novel Ivanhoe.
Who owns the reservoirs?
The reservoirs are owned and maintained by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP or DWP).
Do the reservoirs still hold potable drinking water?
The reservoirs provided water to 600,000 homes in downtown and South Los Angeles; however, for a number of years only the smaller of the two, Ivanhoe, has remained online. At capacity, the reservoirs held 795 million gallons of water.
The Silver Lake Reservoir's water resources will be replaced by the Headworks Reservoir, two underground tanks north of Griffith Park.
Are the reservoirs a Los Angeles Cultural Historic Monument?
The reservoirs were named City of Los Angeles Cultural Historic Monument #422 in March 1989.
ABOUT REFILLING THE RESERVOIR
What are LADWP's (DWP) plans for refilling the Silver Lake Reservoir?
The current pipeline construction project should be completed at the end of 2016. At which time, according to the Environment Impact Report Addendum, the DWP has stated they will refill the reservoir to its historic operating level at 440' above sea level. However, in June 2016 the DWP indicated that they are considering sources other than potable water. Such options could include the Los Angeles River, recycled water, and/or storm water, all of which require some amount of additional off-site infrastructure to be designed and built. Exploring these other options will delay the refilling process.
When will the reservoir be refilled?
The DWP has indicated they will begin to refill the reservoir May 1, 2017.
Is the DWP designing a contingency/back-up plan to refill with potable water if there are delays in meeting the planned start date to refill?
To date, the DWP has made no commitment to the community to fill the reservoir with potable water. They have also not mentioned any contingency plan.
Who will be responsible for managing the Reservoirs after construction ends?
The DWP owns and operates the Silver Lake Reservoir Complex property and will retain responsibility for the property after the reservoirs are removed from the drinking water system.
When will the shade balls be removed?
As of June 2016, the DWP has said the shade balls on Ivanhoe Reservoir will be removed at the end of construction, when the reservoir is taken out of service.
What is happening regarding wildlife at the reservoirs?
The reservoirs lie in the Pacific Flyway, seeing a variety of geese and ducks stop on the banks to rest and gain strength. It's also home to several active nests of Great Blue Herons, who return each year to the Eucalyptus Grove along West Silver Lake Drive from February through August. Typically, migration and nesting rely on water in the reservoirs. Although the birds returned in 2008 after Silver Lake Reservoir was drained, there is no assurance that they will return should the reservoirs be dry for another season.
Will the Fire Department be able to deploy helicopters to the Silver Lake Reservoir as a firefighting resource?
The DWP indicated in June 2016 that once water has been replaced to at least a 6-foot level, Silver Lake Reservoir could be a resource for firefighting efforts.