(Site Last Updated February 6, 2012)

Save Stone Canyon Reservoir from The Department of Water and Power's grandiose project that will take up to 10 years to complete and may include public access in a high fire danger area.  Check back here for the latest information and what you can do to make a difference!



The Final Environmental Impact Report will be presented to the DWP Board of Commissioners for approval on Tuesday February 7, 2012 at 1:30PM.  The Board of Commissioners will have to choose one of the three alternatives discussed in the EIR.


The Agenda has been posted and the DWP staff is recommending the least costly and environmentally damaging floating cover option.  We still need a massive show of support on February 7 to convince the Board to approve the DWP staff’s recommendation of the floating cover option.  We feel certain the opposition will have a strong showing to argue for their buried reservoir with public access option.  We expect representatives from CPOR, Roscomare Valley Association and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to be there arguing for the most costly option being the buried reservoir with public access into this extremely dangerous fire area.  Unfortunately, these groups do not represent the area residents and commuters but we do!  


We need to convince the DWP Commissioners to proceed with the least expensive option and keep the Stone Canyon area off-limits to the public.  Please attend this very important meeting where the fate of the Stone Canyon Reservoir Complex may finally be decided. The meeting is at 1:30 PM Tuesday February 7, 2012 at:



Room 1555-H, 111 North Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012


If no parking is available onsite you can park at the Music Center across the street or Disney Hall.  Plan to arrive at least ½ hour early.  A copy of the agenda summary is attached.  Public comment is item 4 so please don’t be late and the Stone Canyon vote is item 17.


The project summary and cost analysis can be viewed at:




The full agenda with DWP staff summary and resolution regarding Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir is at:





The members of Save Stone Canyon Reservoir support a more modest and cheaper solution -- a rubber cover placed over the Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir -- which can be constructed in about one year at a fraction of the cost. The DWP's environmental impact studies confirm that the rubber cover alternative achieves the primary objective to protect the water supply without any significant adverse environmental effects.  Yet the DWP inexplicably continues to pursue the most expensive option with the greatest number of adverse environmental effects on the community.


We urge you to get involved and let the DWP know you want the least intrusive and costly solution!



The DWP issued the final EIR on Stone Canyon on January 11, 2012.  You can read it here:



Plan to attend the February 7th 2012 DWP meeting and be heard.  This may be our last chance to influence the DWP decision process and Save Stone Canyon Reservoir.  The meeting will be held downtown and the time is usually 1:30 PM but will be posted on their website 3 days prior.  Here is the address where the meeting will be held:


Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Room 1555-H, 15th Floor

111 North Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012




Join our email notification list now.   We will keep you informed on project developments and neighborhood issues / emergencies.  You can also contact us and send us your comments.  Don't let the DWP ruin our quality of life.  You can still sign our petition and mail it to us.


In general, the report concludes that the floating cover provides the superior environmental alternative, but still recommends a covered reservoir option.  It also confirms that there would be no public access with a floating cover.  While the report is over 200 pages, please read at least the "Executive Summary".


The DWP now say a concrete cover project can be completed in just four years.  When it was initially proposed, the DWP said that it would take 7-10 years to complete.  They now say the cost is $140 million, but two years ago, the DWP said that it would be $235 million. 


The buried concrete cover option advocated in the draft EIR anticipates 140,364 truck trips, operating 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, 48 weeks per year and for four years.  That equals 35,091 truck trips per year, or 2,924 trips per month.  Assuming 20 working days per month, that equals an average of 146 truck trips per day.  That means 18 truck trips per hour, which is about one trip every 3 minutes for four years.


And remember that these figures only count one-way trips.  Since the trucks will not stay on site, the impact to the community is actually double that amount.  Meanwhile, the floating cover option would generate only 16,640 trips over the same period.  That’s 88% fewer truck trips.


It is imperative that all concerned neighbors view and comment on the findings before the July 25th deadline or the DWP will proceed as planned with this enormous project. All rate payers will be paying for this no doubt with rate increases. Some DWP representatives already admitted they do not have the funds set aside for this project.


The report also states "the proposed project would create significant and unavoidable impacts related to construction air quality, construction noise, construction traffic and wildland fire during project operation. The proposed project would also contribute to significant and unavoidable cumulative impacts related to construction air quality and construction noise." This, no doubt, is a tame summary so we suggest everyone review the Draft EIR and draw their own conclusions.




Project History

On February 6, 2010—During the public commentary period at a meeting of the LADWP Board of Commissioners, a representative of Save Stone Canyon Reservoir spoke about the growing community opposition to the buried tanks and concrete cover options for Stone Canyon. SSCR explained that residents and commuters in the area strongly objected to the exorbitant cost of the project, the negative impacts on traffic, safety, and pollution of the project, and the increased risk of fire danger if the canyon is opened to the public as proposed in the buried tanks and concrete cover options.

In response to this commentary, the Board of Commissioners instructed LADWP engineers to research the claims made by SSCR and to report back to the Board with their own recommendation, as well as with details of the progress of the Environmental Impact Report on the project.

On April 6, 2010— At a meeting of the LADWP Board of Commissioners, a new resolution was proposed by the LADWP engineers for consideration by the Board that suggested redirecting the Water System to pursue the aluminum cover with solar option as the proposed actions in the Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir Environmental Impact Reports” and to eliminate the possibility of public access to Stone Canyon. The resolution was recommended by the LADWP Chief Operating Officer and the Senior Assistant General Manager-Water System, and approved by the Interim General Manager, David Freeman.  Unfortunately, the new resolution was never considered by the Board of Commissioners as it was deferred at several meetings, without formal explanation, by the Board of Commissioners. It has now been indefinitely deferred.

SSCR was disappointed that the new resolution rejecting the expensive buried tanks and concrete cover options, as well as public access, was never voted upon by the Board. It is our understanding that rather than prioritize one “preferred” option, the LADWP has instructed the drafters of the environmental impact report to consider all four options—buried tanks, concrete cover, aluminum cover, and rubber cover—equally. However, it seems unreasonable that the buried tanks and concrete cover options would still be under consideration when they no longer enjoy the support of the LADWP’s own engineers and are strongly opposed by a large number of residents and commuters in the area.

SSCR does not anticipate any movement on the Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir Project proposals until completion of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) at the end of the 2010 or beginning of 2011.

 Although consideration of the preferred option for the Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir Project has been put on hold until the results of the EIR are made public, SSCR encourages all concerned residents to appear before the LADWP Board of Commissioners at their twice monthly meetings and voice their opposition to the wasteful buried tanks and concrete cover options, as well as their opposition to opening Stone Canyon to the public and putting the Los Angeles Westside at risk for a major and devastating wildfire.







The LADWP has initiated plans to demolish the uncovered, concrete Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir and replace it with buried storage tanks or a buried concrete cover. The cost of these options is $235 million dollars (buried tanks) or $140 million dollars (concrete cover). The LADWP does not have the funds to pay for either option and will have to raise rates on all of rate payers of Los Angeles in order to secure those funds. Once the project is completed, the LADWP would like to open up Stone Canyon to the public. Stone Canyon was the site of one of the worst brush fires ever to hit Los Angeles, the Bel Air Fire of 1961 in which 464 homes were destroyed.

Save Stone Canyon Reservoir (SSCR) is an organization of residents in neighborhoods adjacent to Upper Stone Canyon, and of commuters who travel the roads near the canyon, who are opposed to the LADWP’s proposed project. The members of SSCR object to the exorbitant cost of the buried project options as well as to the negative impacts that the project will have to our quality of life, in particular, to the increased risk of fire from opening the brush-laden canyon to the public.

In exchange for spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bury the water of Upper Stone Canyon in order to preserve the view for a few Bel Air and Roscomare Valley residents, the LADWP proposes to create hiking trails in the canyon and invite the public to stroll in one of the most wildfire-prone areas of Los Angeles. The canyon is filled with highly combustible vegetation and is the natural path for powerful Santa Ana winds that would fan the flames of any wildfire originating in the canyon. Save Stone Canyon Reservoir is opposed to any project that would require opening such a vulnerable site to the public and place west Los Angles homes in the path of a possible massive conflagration.

The LADWP has other, cheaper options that it could pursue other than the buried tanks or concrete cover options, and which would not require opening up Stone Canyon to the public and to the increased risk of wildfire. For $80 million, an aluminum cover could be placed over the existing upper reservoir, or for $35 million, a rubber cover.

In addition to costing Los Angeles residents an excess of $100 million to $200 million in higher utility rates, the buried tanks and concrete cover options will negatively affect traffic and safety on nearby roads. According to the LADWP, the buried tanks option will place 49,000 massive trucks on the winding roads of Mulholland Drive between the 405 freeway and the northern entrance to Stone Canyon just off Mulholland. In an Environmental Impact Report commissioned by the LADWP for a previous project in Stone Canyon, the report comments of traffic implications:

“The posted speed on the segment of Mulholland Drive from the site to the I-405 is 30 mph, with operating speeds ranging from 30 to 35 mph,” the report explains. “The trucks would have a difficult time negotiating the curvilinear alignment, roller coaster profile, and restrictive width of Mulholland Drive. This would cause speeds to range between 20 and 25 mph. Since their operating speeds would be less that the existing speeds on Mulholland, platoons would begin to form behind them . . . increasing delays and congestion on this 1-1/4 mile segment of Mulholland Drive.”

These traffic delays will impact commuters to the 405 freeway and to the nine elementary and secondary schools in the neighborhood for a duration of at least 7 to 10 years.

Construction of the buried tanks or concrete cover would also create excessive noise and air pollution

There has been no change it the public access / park / hiking trail option.  This will certainly increase the fire danger, cause security issues for area homeowners and disruption to the animal habitat.   It would be prudent for anyone interested in our future quality of life in our neighborhood to send a letter to the Lee Alpert President, Edith Ramirez Vice-President and Jonathan Parfrey, the DWP Commissioner voicing their concerns on this massive and wasteful project. We will  also keep a close watch on the release of the Preliminary Environmental Impact Report (EIR) so as not to miss the public comment 45 day window.  A previous draft EIR claimed there would be no significant increased risk of fire danger with public access to the site.  Who are they kidding!  This web site will keep you posted on the latest developments. 

If you are not happy about the plans DWP has for the Stone Canyon Reservoir Complex then get involved!  Join our email notification list now.   We will keep you informed on project developments and neighborhood issues / emergencies.  You can also contact us and send us your comments.  Don't let the DWP ruin our quality of life.  Sign our petition now!

Due to our efforts The Bel Air Ridge Board has officially withdrawn their support of the Buried Tanks option.  Now we need to convince the Bel Air / Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council and Roscomare Valley Association (RVA) to do the same.  Keep those petitions coming!


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Additional Project Information






Keith Meyer discusses the project at a Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association meeting




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