Because of recent heavy rainfall, the city of San Diego Saturday began releasing about 923 million gallons of water from Hodges Reservoir into the San Dieguito River, which may eventually lead to the ocean, city officials said.
The dam release began at about 11 a.m. Saturday and will continue for about seven days or until the reservoir elevation is near 295 feet, spokesperson José Ysea said.
For safety reasons, the California Division of Safety of Dams has determined that the water level at Hodges Reservoir should not exceed 295 feet, which is 20 feet below spillway elevation, Ysea said. This requires periodic water releases from Hodges Reservoir.
"People in the area of the San Dieguito River Park and those in other areas along the river should take precautions," Ysea said.
The relentless, record-breaking storm drenched the county last week and delivered several inches of rain and snow. What was expected to be the final day of a slow-moving storm's stint over San Diego County was awash with downed trees, flooded roads and dozens of crashes -- one deadly -- on Friday.
City officials will continue to monitor weather forecasts, rainfall and the water level at Hodges Reservoir to determine if additional water releases need to be planned for this year, Ysea said.
Hodges Reservoir was created with the building of Hodges Dam on San Dieguito Creek in 1918. Operated and maintained by the city's Public Utilities Department, the reservoir currently serves the San Dieguito Water District and Santa Fe Irrigation District as well as the city.
The city is finalizing plans for improvements to Hodges Dam, Ysea said. The state has determined it safe with the restricted water level.