Down on the Silverlake bed
The stick marks the spot where the new pipeline will join the city water system. Photos by Iris Schneider. One of my favorite stories as a child was "The Five Chinese Brothers," by Claire Huchet Bishop. A crucial part of the story happened when one of the Chinese brothers drank up all the water in the local lake, and held it in his mouth while a little boy went searching on the dry lakebed for treasures. I couldn't help thinking about that story when I walked the Silver Lake bed last week. This was no Echo Park Lake, that's for sure. In our walk across the lakebed we found only one object: a faded 33 1/3 vinyl record. We left it there for the archaeologists to discover. Otherwise the lakebed was pristine.
Because drinking water can no longer be stored in open reservoirs, a new underground reservoir has been built in Griffith Park called the Headworks project. A series of pipes will be installed and buried to bypass the water in Silver Lake and connect the Headworks water into the city's existing pipes. To facilitate the construction of the new pipeline, Silver Lake has been emptied and I had a chance to walk across the lake bottom, instead of around it the way I usually do. All the construction has not deterred the great blue herons, which are still nesting in the trees around the lake's perimeter. A biologist has been on board to make sure no creatures are disturbed in the construction process, which began in March 2015.
DWP hopes to have the new pipes laid and buried by year's end. * Correction: A DWP spokesperson says the decision has not been made on how to refill the lake. "We will exhaust all options to hopefully use non-potable sources," the DWP says.