City Officials and Community Members Celebrate as
Reservoir Complex Begins to Refill
LOS ANGELES (April 25, 2017) — Councilmember David Ryu (CD 4) and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell (CD 13) joined Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Senior Assistant General Manager Richard Harasick today in cranking open the tower valves to begin refilling the Silver Lake Reservoir Complex ahead of schedule, using surplus water from this year’s above-average Eastern Sierra snowpack.
“I want to thank the Department of Water and Power for holding true to their promise to refill the Silver Lake Reservoir as soon as possible. This is a big win for the nearby residents and all Angelenos alike,” said Councilmember Ryu. “Over the coming months, we will continue to work with all stakeholders in a transparent and engaging community process as we discuss the long-term future of the reservoir.”
“After years of drought, we finally had above average precipitation across California. As a result, the Sierra snowpack is over 200 percent of normal. As the snow melts, the over-abundance of water will come our way via the aqueduct. For this reason, we have a unique opportunity to restore water to the reservoir sooner than anticipated,” said Councilmember O’Farrell. “I want to thank Silver Lake Reservoir area residents for the invaluable input we received over the last several months, and who are understandably passionate to bring the water back. But we must now take the long view and plan for a sustainable future for the reservoir complex that enhances the environment and the quality of life for all users, including families and wildlife.”
With the opening of the tower valves, water gushed into the smaller Ivanhoe Reservoir where it is expected to fill the space and then spill over into the larger, adjacent Silver Lake Reservoir within about two weeks. Thanks to an above-average year of snow in the Eastern Sierra—registering at more than double the snowpack of a typical year—LADWP has surplus Los Angeles Aqueduct water to fill Ivanhoe and Silver Lake Reservoirs ahead of the originally-planned May refill date.
“Today is about delivering on a promise we made to the community to restore these two reservoirs, which are so vital to the folks who live, work and recreate here, and we’re achieving it sooner than expected,” Harasick said.
Flowing at a rate of about 5,600 gallons per minute, water is expected to reach Silver Lake Reservoir’s historic level of 440 feet above sea level within approximately two months. Originally, LADWP estimated it would take a year to refill the reservoir to that level using water that would be piped from an existing groundwater well. LADWP still plans to connect the groundwater well to maintain the reservoir levels as water naturally evaporates.
The historic, 1908 Silver Lake Reservoir had been drained in late 2015 to allow for the construction of the Silver Lake Reservoir Complex (SLRC) Bypass Project, part of LADWP’s compliance efforts to address updated State and Federal drinking water quality regulations.
LADWP had continued operating Ivanhoe Reservoir with shade balls, deployed in 2009 to meet the water quality regulation, until it was drained and the shade balls removed earlier this month.
The SLRC Bypass Project, completed in February, allows treated drinking water to be conveyed from the newly-built Headworks Reservoir, bypassing the two open-air reservoirs and directly serving Silver Lake and Ivanhoe Reservoirs’ former service areas. While no longer used to store drinking water, LADWP has pledged to keep water in Silver Lake and Ivanhoe Reservoirs for the community and all Angelenos to enjoy.
To further beautify this space, LADWP has planted California-friendly plants and more than 40 trees at the reservoir complex. Once the reservoirs are filled, LADWP has agreed to fund a new masterplan for the Silver Lake complex that will be developed by the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering.
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