City to release water from Hodges Reservoir into San Dieguito River

The lake has been lowered to complete the necessary repairs.
(Karen Billing)

Due to past rainfall and a state water level mandate, the City of San Diego will release approximately 250 million gallons of water from Hodges Reservoir into the San Dieguito River this week.

This action will lower the current water level by approximately two feet and the water released will be controlled and flow directly into the San Dieguito riverbed, avoiding impacts to adjacent properties. The release was scheduled to begin on Nov. 28 and continue for approximately two days until the reservoir elevation is approximately 275 feet, according to a news release.

For safety reasons, the California Division of Safety of Dams has mandated that the water level at Hodges Reservoir not exceed 275 feet.

To minimize 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 the use of Hodges Reservoir water for potable water systems. The city is also coordinating operations with the San Diego County Water Authority, the regional water wholesale agency.

“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 in the news release. “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.”

Emergency repairs on the Hodges Dam have been ongoing since May. This project also requires a lower water level, which has resulted in the closure of boating and fishing recreation. The San Dieguito River Park trails and facilities around Hodges Reservoir have remained open to the public. As additional damages were discovered this fall, the repair work will likely continue into spring 2023. According to the city, possible limited access may be necessary and will be determined early next year.