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It is always a pleasure to read my fellow AHBE Lab contributor’s entries. I always learn something new. I am a Silver Lake resident myself, so Gary’s recent post about the Silver Lake Reservoir of course caught my interest. I had no idea that the Reservoir was drained to bypass the drinking water system post 9-11. I also did not know that the plan was to refill the neighborhood’s token reservoir as it once was – this would be in fact no small feat.

I have to disagree with Gary on one point however. The reservoir is something different than a large empty hole. It has become a place of contingency, and that is not necessarily uninteresting.

Of course, there is potential for greatness, but what about the present? Is there a way to transition to the Reservoir’s next stage? How can we act now? The perimeter of the park is alive and shockingly green, extremely well used by residents and visitors alike. Looking beyond the fence, the Reservoir can be quite beautiful even without water, just not accessible.

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As Gary points out “The Silver Lake Reservoir is much larger than Echo Park Lake, and urban runoff alone would not be able to maintain the necessary volume for Silver Lake’s capacity”. Seeing the reservoir as less of a construction site and more of a place for experimentation could create a flexible landscape that could start performing now. This kind of experimental landscape could also buy some time for constituency and funding for perhaps a better Silver Lake Reservoir. Could we strategically propagate vegetation now to mitigate storm water, take toxins out of the soil, and provide habitat to urban wildlife?

During a community meeting on June 30th the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power committed once more to refill the iconic body of water. But when? According to CD4 Neighborhood Advocate Adam Miller, LADWP will be providing updates at a meeting to discuss specific options for restoring water to the Silver Lake Reservoir on September 20th. An additional meeting would be held after to discuss improvement plans after the Reservoir is filled. This proposed order – fill now…and then what do we do? – seems endlessly problematic. What can we do now to improve the conditions of the Reservoir and is filling it up just as it was really our best option? See you next Tuesday.

Silver Lake Reservoir Community Meeting Tuesday, September 20 
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 
John Marshall High School Auditorium
3939 Tracy Street, Los Angeles, CA 90027
For more information, please contact SLNC.

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