Once the crown jewel of the Los Angeles Water System, Silver Lake Reservoirs have been brought offline and will no longer store drinking water for Los Angeles. This creates a significant opportunity for the City of Los Angeles, the Department of Water and Power, our elected officials, our design community, and the residents of Los Angeles to create an incredible new public resource.
Their future can be a solution that combines:
- Extension of the LA DWP's efforts to provide a responsive program addressing community values, while ensuring long-term reliable and environmentally sound water supply for the City.
- A sustainable future that helps solve the LA Region's ongoing water supply and quality needs, in an era of climate change and diminishing resources.
- Improved public space and amenities that meet the desires of the community for healthy enjoyment of the Reservoirs' scenic and recreational potential.
The future success of the Silver Lake Reservoirs will need partnering with regional agencies responsible for achieving the “One Water" goals of water stewardship, and building a coalition of community stakeholders to create an exciting mix of public access and park features.
While DWP has been moving forward with construction, there has been limited public engagement, discussion, and planning for the future of the reservoirs. Silver Lake Forward, a newly-formed 501c3 organization, will serve as a catalyst for the community and a way to engage Los Angeles in the
process of determining its future.
We think that everyone in Silver Lake and in the broader Los Angeles community should be more involved in the decisions that affect the future of our Reservoirs. Silver Lake Forward is a civic 501c3 dedicated to remaking the Silver Lake Reservoirs into a world-class public space celebrating (a) access, (b) beauty and (c) conservation.
Silver Lake Forward is a coalition of homeowners, businesses, designers, renters, parents, kids, and
pet owners. We support responsible, neighborhood-centered development of the Reservoirs that
- Great public space around and in the Reservoirs
- Respect for the Silver Lake master plan, acknowledging that we need to update the plan
- Integration with the larger plans for the LA river and DWP stormwater and recycled water
- Planning that addresses our severe drought and innovative ways to save and reuse water
- Prioritizing new forms of transportation and public access to the Reservoirs site to reduce traffic and parking impacts and improve quality of life
- Respect for tradition with openness to new ideas and uses
- The value of ensuring access to the reservoir for LA's diverse communities
- The value of public space for public health, recreation, and fun
- Respect for conservation with an acknowledgement of the diversity of urban ecology
- Prioritizing fun and active recreation, and increasing the use of the Silver Lake Reservoirs by the neighborhood and the broader LA community
We believe that the repurposed Silver Lake Reservoirs could provide significant community and
- Wildlife Habitat
- Constructed Wetlands for Stormwater Capture, Cleansing and Reuse, with reduced pollution
- of waterways & ocean.
- Recycled Water Storage and distribution.
- Cultural, Educational & Recreational Opportunities, from community centers to water enjoyment and public art.
- Healthy Communities, enjoying outdoor space and reducing Los Angeles' park deficit.
- Contributing to the revitalization of the Los Angeles River
We think the Silver Lake Reservoirs could be the next great public space and recreational facility for the west coast, and we're working together to move planning forward. We propose the following next steps to ensure community participation and responsible redevelopment of the reservoirs, incorporating forward-thinking water use planning.
Proposed Next Steps
In order to move forward with the Silver Lake Forward effort, we propose the following phasing
strategy for the Silver Lake Reservoirs. We believe the DWP should create a formal Silver Lake Reservoirs Working Group, that could immediately begin discussing the transition of Silver Lake Reservoir into a community asset that should include members from Silver Lake Forward, elected officials, representatives of key city departments, and key stakeholders.
Phase 1A – 3-6 mos duration. Begins immediately
Enhance visitor experience to the existing Silver Lake Meadow by including the following
- adding bathrooms or upgrading existing facilities on the property to allow bathroom access
- increasing shade
- improving grading
- implementing the original concept for the meadow, including mounds to organize the space; providing views, seating and enhanced vegetation for shade, or achieving these goals by opening more of the grounds to public access
- take advantage of the reservoirs being drained to remove as much of the concrete lining of the reservoirs as is feasible.
Phase 1B – 3-6 mos duration. Follows Phase 1A
Increase public accessibility on the west side of the site at the Eucalyptus Grove including:
- moving/ removing the fence
- adding pathways and site furnishings
- developing a plan to temporarily limit access during Great Blue Heron nesting season
Phase 1C – 6-12 mos duration. Begins immediately
Establish Master Plan Committee to make recommendations regarding governance, management,
stakeholder participation and procurement strategy.
Implement a Master Plan process including:
- Opportunities within both Ivanhoe and Silver Lake Reservoirs
- Perimeter Treatment/ removal of concrete embankment of both Ivanhoe and Silver Lake Reservoirs
- Creating Shoreline Experiences
- Studying the Ivanhoe and Silver Lake Promenade potential
- Studying the Mallard Grove, Caretaker Cottage Grounds and the Knoll
- Outline opportunities and constraints and suggest improvements
- Studying potential active recreation opportunities within the Reservoirs
- Evaluating traffic and parking impacts and recommending solutions and strategies
Phase 2 – 6-12 mos duration. Follows conclusion of Phase 1C.
- Implementation of results of Phase 1C.
*Assumptions: Master Plan effort to run concurrently with immediate actions that require landscape
Silver Lake Forward Participation:
In order to support the implementation of the proposed plan, Silver Lake Forward will:
- Provide strong advocacy and an open, inclusive process to achieve the most comprehensive solution for the Silver Lake Reservoirs, leveraging digital and traditional community outreach strategies.
- Build relationships with community stakeholders, other nonprofits, agencies (including LA DWP, Rec and Parks, etc.) and elected officials to achieve the public will, funding and oversight to ensure successful projects in the near future and beyond.
- Create the foundation for an enduring and inclusive public/private partnership with engaged and accountable stakeholders, and individual and institutional funders.
- Work to connect the Silver Lake Reservoirs project with adjacent neighborhoods and the Los Angeles River; creating a “Village Green" nexus in Los Angeles' future as interconnected, sustainable villages.
- Partner with transportation and urban planners to integrate improved traffic, parking, and multi-modal transportation solutions.
We look forward to working collaboratively with LA DOT, LA DWP, and the Recreation and Parks
Department to ensure the responsible and innovative development of the Silver Lake Reservoirs.