It is no secret that California has been facing some severe drought conditions. As such, officials at both the state and local level are looking for ways to best conserve the precious resource of water.
Drought Conditions Persist Throughout California
While some parts of California received a good amount of precipitation thanks to El Nino, Southern California did not have the same results. In fact, as reservoirs in the northern portion of the state filled up with snowfall, Southern California and approximately 90 percent of the state is still facing drought conditions. For this reason, Governor Jerry Brown has issued an order stating that California should “permanently follow some conservation measures taken during the state’s drought.”
Under the governor’s proposal, cities would have to continue to report how much water they use each month. Furthermore, bans regarding excessive watering of lawns would remain in place. The state would then go on to make adjustments to emergency water conservation regulations through the end of January 2017 according to the varying water supply conditions throughout the state. The proposal would also require officials to come up with water restrictions for next year in case the drought persists. In addition to the proposal put forth by Governor Brown, water officials are also considering whether or not they should make any modifications to the existing conservation goals.
The Silver Lake Reservoir to Remain Dry
In the summer of 2015, the Silver Lake reservoir was drained in order to install some new piping that was necessary to connect it to its replacement near Griffith Park. The change was necessary to a change in federal regulations that has place a ban on open-air reservoirs. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing drought problems in the state, residents of the Silver Lake community have had to make do without their beloved lake. As such, instead of watching birds floating over the water, residents have been staring at nothing but dust and heavy machinery.
Under the original plan, the reservoir was going to be drained and then filled back up with 400 million gallons of drinking water about 12 months later. This plan was devised in 2006, however, before the state hit a four-year stretch of drought conditions. Now, the idea of devoting 400 million gallons of drinking water to a reservoir is not one that is very well received as officials ration water throughout the state.
Since the reservoir cannot be filled with drinking water, the LADWP did consider filling it with non-potable water from an undetermined source such as recycled water, storm water or water from the LA River. Each of these options would take a significant amount of time and money, however, as they would require designing and building additional infrastructure.
In response to the issue, some residents have proposed changing the reservoir to a 96-acre public park. Officials are also asking residents to come up with other proposals for how to use the space.
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(all data current as of 5/29/2017)
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