Monday, October 6, 2014

Photo Essay: Inside the Fence at Silver Lake Reservoir

I feel like I'm always on the wrong side of the fence, trying to get in.



Sometimes I might find a hole cut by some other trespasser, or the chainlink peeled away by various n'er do wells – but, reticent to slice myself on barbed wire, I rarely climb.



The first time I visited Silver Lake Reservoir – a popular recreation spot for LA's Eastsiders –



...the main thing I noticed was the fence.



People walk their dogs, jog, and do yoga outside of the fence...



...while the placid reservoir glimmers in the Magic Hour on the other side...



...that is, the inside of the fence.



These places haunt me.



So when I had an opportunity to visit the actual Silver Lake Reservoir with LADWP –



– not just the neighborhood perimeter –



I gladly got up early to walk the two-or-so miles around it.



Of course, I'd been there once before, on a bike, at dusk...



...but this time it was in full daylight...



...with all those people from the community peering in, wondering what was going on...



...as all of us trekked around the water.



Silver Lake Reservoir itself was recently decommissioned, so its exposed water isn't doing much of anything...



...which leaves the neighborhood clamoring for access to it.



The walls lining Silver Lake Reservoir are steep...



... making it too dangerous for small children and any pets...



...although plenty of wildlife – particularly, birds – have found their way to the now-open water.



Their presence is no longer seen as a source of contamination...



...since this water is no longer used for drinking supply.



However, what is now known as Silver Lake Reservoir is actually two reservoirs:



...Silver Lake and Ivanhoe Reservoirs...



...separated by a burm.



Ivanhoe has not yet been decommissioned...



...(though it is scheduled to be)...



...so its water surface is still protected by those black plastic floating balls...



...400,000 of them, in fact...



...that supposedly keep wildlife out and protect the water from sunlight, which can harmfully mix with chemicals in the water to form the carcinogen bromate.

But once the Ivanhoe Reservoir becomes decommissioned, too, the balls will be removed, and the reservoir will be drained. It will then be refilled with water from the Silver Lake Reservoir and then...who knows? The master plan hasn't been released or approved yet.

But hopefully regardless of what happens to the water or the reservoirs themselves, city officials will find some way of keeping those fences unlocked (or taking them down altogether).

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: The Big Parade Day Two (Silverlake)
Photo Essay: Keeping LA's Water Supply Drinkable (And Accessible)
Photo Essay: How the Dry Valley Gets Its Water