Lake Hodges
Repair work at Lake Hodges Reservoir Dam. Photo via @waterinsd Twitter

The city will release around 250 million gallons of water from Hodges Reservoir into the San Dieguito River over a two-day period starting Monday.

The water release, using valves in Hodges Dam, will begin 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.

— City News Service