The Coast News Group
Hodges Reservoir
250 million gallons of water was released from Hodges Reservoir into the San Dieguito River.
Del MarEscondidoRancho Santa Fe

Water released into San Dieguito River

REGION — The city of San Diego released around 250 million gallons of
water from Hodges Reservoir into the San Dieguito River over a two-day period
starting Nov. 28.

The water release, using valves in Hodges Dam, began Monday and
is intended to reduce the reservoir’s elevation by around two feet to 275 feet,
according to the city.

For safety reasons, the California Division of Safety of Dams requires
that the water level at Hodges Reservoir be capped at 275 feet — 40 feet
below the spillway. The dam captures water from the San Dieguito Watershed,
which extends 248 square miles and is the largest watershed feeding city
reservoirs.

“Visitors to this area of the San Dieguito River Park and generally
along the San Dieguito River should take precautions as the water level in the
creek will rise,” said Juan Guerreiro, director of the city’s public utilities
department. “The city will continue to monitor weather forecasts, rainfall and
the water level at Hodges Reservoir to determine if additional water releases
need to be planned during the rainy season.”

To reduce the amount of water that must be released, the city is
coordinating with the Santa Fe Irrigation District and the San Dieguito Water
District to maximize use by local water systems. The city is also coordinating
operations with the San Diego County Water Authority, the regional water
wholesale agency, according to the public utilities department.

According to the city, the water released will be controlled and flow
directly into the San Dieguito riverbed, avoiding impacts to adjacent
properties. Additionally, a project to make repairs at Hodges Dam has been ongoing
since May. That project also requires a lower water level, necessitating
the closure of boating and fishing at the reservoir.

Hodges Reservoir is normally closed to the public from November
through February, but the San Dieguito River Park trails and facilities around
Hodges Reservoir are open and have remained open to the public. The repair work
will likely continue into spring 2023, which means access may be limited moving
forward.

The city-owned Hodges Reservoir is primarily used to store water for
drinking purposes. It was created with the building of Hodges Dam on the San
Dieguito River in 1918.

Weather patterns could change the number of water release days.