City to begin repairs on Lake Hodges Dam

The Lake Hodges Dam in 2020.
(John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Hodges Reservoir will be closed for recreation during five-month project


In the coming weeks, the City of San Diego will begin emergency repairs on the Lake Hodges Dam at the Hodges Reservoir in Escondido outside of Rancho Santa Fe.

During a recent inspection, the city identified areas in the dam wall that require repair and need be sealed. In order to complete the work, the water level of the reservoir needs to be lowered by about 18 feet from its current level to an elevation of 275 feet.

The repair project is expected to continue for an estimated five months.

“It’s been over a century since Hodges Dam was constructed and we are making significant investments to maintain this vital asset,” said Alia Khouri, San Diego’s deputy chief operating officer said in a news release. “Projects like this one are crucial for the city’s aging infrastructure system in order to maintain the safe and efficient delivery of city services.”

As a result of the lower water level, the Hodges Reservoir will be closed for recreation while the repair project is underway. The San Dieguito River Park trails and facilities around Hodges Reservoir will not be impacted during the drawdown or construction work on the dam.

The Hodges Dam celebrated its centennial birthday in 2018. Operated and maintained by the city, the reservoir provides water supply for the County Water Authority, San Dieguito Water District and the Santa Fe Irrigation District (SFID), which serves the communities of Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach.

“Lake Hodges water is a critical part of SFID’s supply portfolio and contributes approximately 30% of our annual supply. We appreciate the city of San Diego taking swift action in beginning emergency repairs to the dam,” said Al Lau, general manager of SFID. “SFID is collaborating with the City of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority to move water out of the reservoir and into the local water system as quickly as possible to facilitate the emergency repairs.”

Most, if not all, of the water will be transferred to other reservoirs, while some water may be released into the San Dieguito River, according to the city.

“The emergency repairs for Lake Hodges reinforce the need for water infrastructure funding in California to keep water flowing to our communities, while maintaining reliability and affordability,” Lau said. “Long-term repairs to this 104-year old dam are still looming, and we will continue to work with our local and regional partners for additional funding from state and federal entities.”