Posts

The Miramar Reservoir dam under construction in 1960. The reservoir marks its 60th anniversary i 2020. Photo: Jeff Pasek, City of San Diego

Miramar Reservoir Marks 60 Years of Service

For 60 years, Miramar Reservoir has been an integral part of the City of San Diego’s drinking water system and offers San Diegans a popular recreational area. Now, the reservoir is being called into service to play a vital part in San Diego’s future Pure Water system to sustain a reliable water supply.

The City of San Diego is commemorating the 60th anniversary of Miramar Reservoir, its role in the region’s history, and the part the reservoir will play in the future.

“We celebrate not only Miramar Reservoir’s past, but the critical role it will play when the Pure Water system is completed,” said Shauna Lorance, director of the San Diego Public Utilities Department. “Miramar Reservoir will continue to be a key part of our water system for many years to come.”

Role in San Diego’s history

An aerial view of the Miramar Reservoir under construction in 1960. Photo: Jeff Pasek, City of San Diego

An aerial view of the Miramar Reservoir under construction in 1960. Photo: Jeff Pasek/City of San Diego

Miramar Reservoir marks 60

Miramar was the last of the City’s nine reservoirs to be developed. It was completed in 1960 as part of the second San Diego Aqueduct. The location previously had been the site of a small reservoir serving the vast ranch of newspaper publisher Edward W. Scripps.

Water flowing south to the reservoir originates from both the Colorado River Aqueduct and the California Aqueduct. The earthen embankment dam has a maximum height of 165 feet measured from the downstream toe, and has a base of 1,180 feet.

Dignitaries attend the Miramar Reservoir dedication ceremony in 1960. Photo: Jeff Pasek, City of San Diego

Dignitaries attend the Miramar Reservoir dedication ceremony in 1960. Photo: Jeff Pasek/City of San Diego

It was constructed by contractors Einer Brothers Inc. of Escondido and McCammon Construction, for $1.42 million. Land acquisition and engineering costs were approximately $730,000. Funds for the project came from an $11 million water bond approved by San Diego voters in June 1958.

When full, the reservoir covers 274 surface acres, reaches a maximum water depth of 114 feet, and has four miles of shoreline. Miramar Reservoir has a water storage capacity of 6,682 acre-feet.

Miramar Water Treatment Plant, which was completed in 1962 at a cost of $3.5 million, and expanded and upgraded in 2010, treats and filters drinking water distributed to customers in the northern part of San Diego.

Since the mid-1960s, the reservoir has been a popular recreational destination. An estimated 100,000 people visit Miramar each year to enjoy jogging, walking, biking, fishing, boating, picnicking, among other activities.

Miramar Reservoir to become part of Pure Water San Diego

Today in 2020, the Miramar Reservoir is poised to play a key role in the Pure Water San Diego project. Photo: City of San Diego

The Miramar Reservoir is poised to play a key role in the Pure Water San Diego project. Photo: City of San Diego

When the Pure Water system comes online, Miramar Reservoir will switch from holding imported water to holding purified water received through a pipeline from the planned North City Pure Water Facility. After water has been purified at the North City Pure Water Facility, it will then be transferred via pipeline to Miramar Reservoir. The Miramar Water Treatment Plant will clean the water again, and the water will be distributed to homes and businesses throughout northern San Diego.

Miramar Reservoir will continue use into the foreseeable future as it helps provide one-third of San Diego’s water supply locally by the end of 2035.

Fallbrook Public Utility District changes the painted numbers on its Rattlesnake Tank to reflect the year incoming seniors at Fallbrook High School will graduate. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Fallbrook Rattlesnake Tank Artwork Honors High School Seniors

Each year, the Fallbrook Public Utility District’s water storage tank uphill from South Mission Road is painted with new numbers. There’s a story about local Fallbrook history behind the fresh design on the “Rattlesnake Tank.”

The Fallbrook Public Utility District changes the painted numbers on the tank to reflect the year incoming seniors at Fallbrook High School will graduate. Staff recently painted over the “20,” changing it to “21” to welcome the graduating class of 2021.

The reason for the annual external makeover dates back 35 years. Prior to painting the tank, Fallbrook High seniors took on a longstanding dare. They would climb up the hill in the middle of the night, scale the tank and then paint it themselves.

“Since it’s a long way down, our staff of more than 35 years ago became concerned for their safety,” said Fallbrook’s Noelle Denke. “So we installed a fence around the tank.”

But it didn’t deter the energetic students. Instead, they just began jumping the fence in the middle of the night. So the District struck a deal with the students. If they would stop risking their safety for the dare, the district would safely paint the tank every year to commemorate them.

“And we’ve been doing it ever since,” said Denke.

Safely saluting seniors with 25-foot high signage

Fallbrook Public Utility District utility workers Colter Shannon and Bryan Wagner do the honors changing the painted numbers on Rattlesnake Tank for the Class of 2021. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Fallbrook Public Utility District utility workers Colter Shannon and Bryan Wagner do the honors of changing the painted numbers on Rattlesnake Tank for the Class of 2021. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

It takes District staff about eight hours to paint the 25-foot-tall numbers onto the 3.6 million-gallon tank. Since the tank shares the space with several cell towers, the Fallbrook Public Utility District makes arrangements with them to power-down their towers. Then crews safely hoist themselves up to the tower and get to work painting.

Rattlesnake Tank was built in the early 1950s and is one of Fallbrook’s oldest and most visible water tanks.