Inside San Diego
Stories about City Services, Employees, Residents and Communities
Due to past rainfall and a state mandate with regard to water level, the City of San Diego is scheduled to release approximately 250 million gallons of water from Hodges Reservoir into the San Dieguito River. This will lower the current water level by approximately 2 feet. The water release, using valves in the dam, is scheduled to begin Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, and will continue for approximately two days until the reservoir elevation is approximately 275 feet.
For safety reasons, the California Division of Safety of Dams has mandated that the water level at Hodges Reservoir not exceed 275 feet, which is 40 feet below the spillway elevation. The dam captures water from the San Dieguito Watershed, which extends 248 square miles and is the largest watershed feeding City reservoirs. To maintain the reservoir at the mandated level, the City may periodically release water from Hodges Reservoir after heavy precipitation.
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.
The water released from Hodges Reservoir will be controlled and flow directly into the San Dieguito riverbed, avoiding impacts to adjacent properties.
“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.”
A project to make repairs at Hodges Dam has been underway since May 2022. This 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 during the drawdown and construction work on the dam. Because the repair work will likely continue into spring 2023, possible limited access may be necessary and will be determined early next year.
The primary function of the City-owned Hodges Reservoir is to store water for drinking water purposes. Hodges Reservoir was created with the building of Hodges Dam on the San Dieguito River in 1918. Operated and maintained by the City of San Diego's Public Utilities Department, the reservoir currently serves the San Dieguito Water District, Santa Fe Irrigation District, San Diego County Water Authority and the City.
The number of water release days may change based on weather patterns.
Please visit the City's Reservoir Lakes web pages for more information about Hodges and its other eight reservoirs. For more information about the Hodges Dam repair project, please visit sandiego.gov/reservoirs-lakes/hodges-reservoir.