Empty Silver Lake Reservoir will begin refilling next month

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The empty Silver Lake Reservoir is going to be refilled earlier and faster than expected, thanks to surplus water from melting snow in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced Wednesday.

Refilling will begin in the middle of April and take about two months, the LADWP said. That’s quicker than originally predicted: LADWP had previously planned to start in May and take a year to replenish the depleted reservoir.

The return of water to the reservoir is great news for Silver Lake residents and other Angelenos who’ve been jogging laps around a dirt pit since the reservoir was emptied in 2015.

This never would have happened without an abnormally wet winter. “With the above-average snowpack, we have a surplus of water in the LA Aqueduct System and with it the opportunity to refill Silver Lake Reservoir ahead of schedule,” said Richard Harasick, LADWP senior assistant general manager of water.

The fact that there’s even water for the project at all is welcome news. The intense drought that afflicted the region and state until recently cast doubt on whether even a year was enough time to refill the reservoir under the original plan.

The reservoir was drained as part of a project to comply with updated federal drinking water rules that no longer allow uncovered, open-air reservoirs such as the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe reservoirs. A new underground storage facility near Griffith Park replaced the reservoirs and now holds drinking water for Angelenos.

Once the Silver Lake Reservoir is filled, the water “will be kept at historic levels, ranging between 440 and 450 feet above sea level,” using non-potable water, the LADWP said.

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