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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.

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.

Popular Lake Miramar Gets Key New Role Just as it Turns 60

Lake Miramar, a longtime recreational oasis celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, is about to become a key part of San Diego’s new $5 billion Pure Water system that will boost the city’s water independence by recycling treated sewage.

The last of San Diego’s nine city reservoirs to be built, Lake Miramar attracts an estimated 100,000 people a year for jogging, biking, fishing, boating, picnicking and other activities.

The San Vicente Reservoir boat dock will welcome visitors again starting June 13. Photo: City of San Diego reservoirs begin reopening

Reservoirs Begin Reopening to Recreational Use Countywide

City of San Diego lakes and reservoirs previously closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic are now in the process of reopening for public recreation.

“A lot of San Diegans have a passion for fishing and boating, and we’ve been able to partner with the County [of San Diego] to reopen all of our lakes and reservoirs to the public,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

El Capitan Reservoir and Upper Otay Reservoir reopened on June 6. San Vicente Reservoir will open to the public June 13.

Three reservoirs will re-open in July: Lake Hodges on July 1, Sutherland on July 3, and Barrett on July 8.

Miramar, Murray, and Lower Otay Reservoirs have opened in mid-May.

Standup paddleboarding will return to Lake Hodges on Saturday, July 1. Photo: City of San Diego reservoirs begin reopening

Standup paddleboarding is available at Lake Hodges on Saturday, July 1. Photo: City of San Diego

New safety and cleaning protocols initiated with the re-openings in May will remain in place at all reservoirs. The reservoirs will be open during regular business hours for walking, jogging, cycling, fishing, and boating. Normal fishing and boating fees will apply.

“As we have seen from the thousands of calls, emails, and letters to City Hall, fishing is more than a hobby, it’s a passion,” said San Diego City Councilmember Scott Sherman. “Our lakes and reservoirs are too important of a recreational asset to keep closed and I am thankful they will be opened soon.”

For more information, go to https://www.sandiego.gov/coronavirus

Lake Jennings reopens for recreation and fishing June 13

TCatfish are being restocked this week in Lakes 3 and 6 at Santee Lakes for happy fishermen. Photo: Courtesy Santee Lakes/Padre MWD

Catfish are being restocked this week in Lakes 3 and 6 at Santee Lakes for happy fishermen. Photo: Courtesy Santee Lakes/Padre Dam MWD

Lake Jennings in Lakeside, operated by the Helix Water District, will also reopen for recreation and day-use on Saturday, June 13. Hours are limited to weekends from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fishing and day-use visitors must wear masks and adhere to social distancing. The Bait and Tackle Shop will be open with restrictions. Shore fishing and private boat launching are available, but no boat rentals, night fishing, or fish stocking at this time.

In addition, Lake Jennings recently reopened for camping on June 5 with restrictions in place limiting use to every other campsite, and only by members of the same household. See the complete list of restrictions at the Lake Jennings website.

“We are thrilled to be able to reopen in compliance with the County regulations,” said Kira Haley, Lake Jennings recreation manager. “We really appreciate your understanding in this difficult time while we continue to work hard to keep our community safe.”

The public will be asked to observe COVID-19 preventative measures, including mandates requiring face coverings and physical distancing.

Santee Lakes, operated by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, expanded recreational use including fishing with some restrictions on May 16. All activities with physical distancing are allowed including jogging, bike riding, roller-skating. A facial covering is not required during physical activities but must be in your possession. Physical distancing and possession of a facial covering are required while fishing. The lake’s campsites have remained open throughout the pandemic, but campers must practice social and physical distancing while on site.

County of San Diego to help cover costs

The cost of reopening the City of San Diego’s additional reservoirs is approximately $1 million. Funding identified through a tentative cost-sharing agreement with the County of San Diego will be limited to covering enhanced staffing costs for ensuring public health is maintained in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the City Council and San Diego County Board of Supervisors will need to approve the agreement.

Pre-construction activities are currently underway as part of Phase 1 of the Pure Water San Diego Program. Photo: City of San Diego

Pure Water San Diego Projects Underway After Receiving Milestone Permit

Pre-construction activities at the North City Water Reclamation Plant and the future Pure Water Facility are underway as part of Phase 1 of the Pure Water San Diego program. More than 80,000 cubic yards of soil have been moved to date during initial site work, the equivalent of approximately 25 Olympic sized swimming pools.

Last month, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted an order granting a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES permit, to the City of San Diego to add purified water to the Miramar Reservoir for Phase 1 of  Pure Water San Diego. The approval is a major milestone for the program.

NPDES permits contain discharge limits, monitoring and reporting requirements, and other provisions to ensure water quality and public health. The NPDES permit issued to the City is the first for a reservoir augmentation project in the state of California.

By implementing Phase 1, the City will be able to produce and store 30 million gallons per day of local water supplies and decrease its reliance on imported water.

Pure Water San Diego Phase 1 includes several projects

More than 80,000 cubic yards of soil have been moved to date during initial site work on the Pure Water San Diego project, which is equivalent of approximately 25 Olympic sized swimming pools. Photo: City of San Diego

More than 80,000 cubic yards of soil have been moved to date during initial site work on the Pure Water San Diego project, which is the equivalent of approximately 25 Olympic sized swimming pools. Photo: City of San Diego

Phase 1 includes a series of pipelines and facilities to convey purified water to Miramar Reservoir. Adding the purified water to Miramar Reservoir will increase the reservoir’s beneficial use and optimize protection of water quality. The purified water will blend with the City’s imported sources and be treated again at the Miramar Water Treatment Plant and distributed to the public.

The purified water distribution area will include the portion of the City of San Diego that receives potable water from the Miramar Water Treatment Plant in addition to the City of Del Mar.

Phase 1 of Pure Water San Diego includes several projects: the Morena Pump Station and Pipelines, the North City Water Reclamation Plant Expansion, the North City Pure Water Facility, and the North City Pure Water Pump Station and Pipeline.

Miramar Reservoir will reopen for public recreation on Friday, May 25. Photo: City of San Diego San Diego Reservoirs reopen

Three San Diego Reservoirs Reopen for Public Recreation

Three City of San Diego reservoirs will reopen for public recreation this weekend. Miramar Reservoir in Scripps Ranch and Lake Murray in San Carlos open on Friday. The Lower Otay Reservoir will reopen on Saturday, May 16.

The three reservoirs will be open during regular business hours for walking, jogging, cycling, fishing, and boating, with new safety protocols in place. Normal fishing and boating fees will apply.

New protocols include:

  • Restrooms cleaned every two hours
  • Parking lot capacity reduced by 50% to maintain physical distancing
  • Users must comply with County of San Diego public health orders, including facial coverings (masks) and physical distancing

“As we continue to reopen safely and responsibly, we’re looking to expand recreational opportunities for San Diegans eager to stretch their legs or take their boat out on the lake,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

New protocols enforced through education

San Diego Police Department personnel will enforce illegal parking at the lakes, in the bike lanes, along the red curbs, or on sidewalks. Parking congestion and illegally parked vehicles originally forced San Diego to close the reservoirs to recreation on March 22. Any violations of the new protocols will be monitored with an education-first focus.

Four other San Diego reservoirs – El Capitan, Hodges, San Vicente, and Upper Otay – are still being evaluated for potential reopening at a future date. Barrett and Sutherland Reservoirs will remain closed all year.

Pedestrians at Santee Lakes. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Walkers at Santee Lakes. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Santee Lakes reopened its day-use park day with some restrictions on May 1. There is a limited occupancy each day, physical distancing is required, and hours are limited to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The lake’s campsites remain open, but campers must practice physical distancing while on site.

For more information about Santee Lakes go to: https://www.santeelakes.com/COVID19_dayuse_protocols.

For more information about the City of San Diego’s reservoirs go to: sandiego.gov/reservoirs-lakes

Fall fishing season is in full swing at San Diego County's reservoirs and lakes, including Lake Jennings. Photo: Helix Water District

Freshwater Fishing Flourishes at San Diego Region’s Reservoirs and Lakes

San Diego County’s freshwater fishing in area reservoirs and lakes managed by the region’s water agencies attracts expert anglers and beginners alike.

Of San Diego County’s 24 reservoirs and lakes, 18 allow fishing. Bryan Norris, Reservoirs and Recreation Program Manager for the City of San Diego, oversees eight locations offering recreational opportunities, including fishing.

“We are the largest provider of recreation for the domestic water supply in California,” said Norris. “No other program provides recreation at eight different reservoirs. The City of San Diego is considered a pioneer in these offerings. It’s really something that gets overlooked.”

Bass and bluegill are biting at San Diego reservoirs

Bluegill are plentiful at El Capitan Reservoir in the Cuyamaca Mountains. Photo: City of San Diego

Bluegill are plentiful at El Capitan Reservoir in the Cuyamaca Mountains. Photo: City of San Diego

What people often call lakes in the City of San Diego are actually water supply storage reservoirs and part of the City’s municipal water supply system operated by the City’s Public Utilities Department. The nine reservoirs are Barrett, El Capitan, Hodges, Lower Otay, Miramar, Murray, San Vicente, Sutherland, and Upper Otay. Lake Hodges, Sutherland, and Barrett Lake close during winter months; the remaining five are open year-round.

Lake Murray in La Mesa and Miramar Lake in Scripps Ranch are stocked regularly with trout by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The remaining fish species are self-sustaining, such as bass, catfish, bluegill, and crappie.

“We’re so well known for our bass fisheries at the city lakes,” said Norris. “We have multiple tournaments at our reservoirs, it’s our top fishery. They are serious, it’s like any organized sport.”

Trout most popular at Lake Jennings

Brian Pierce of El Cajon caught his limit of trout at Lake Jennings in March, and planned to return for the opening of fall trout season 2019 last weekend. Photo: Helix Water District

Brian Pierce of El Cajon caught his limit of trout at Lake Jennings in March and planned to return for the opening of fall trout season this year. Photo: Helix Water District

Lake Jennings in Lakeside, operated by the Helix Water District, opened its popular trout season November 15. It stocks 20,000 pounds of trout annually on a biweekly schedule between November and April, and 10,000 pounds of catfish in the summer months. It recently received 2,500 pounds of rainbow trout stock from Wright’s Rainbows in Thatcher, Idaho.

Helix Recreation Manager Kira Haley said she works closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine the correct timing for stocking the lake for eager fishing enthusiasts.

“If you don’t stock it, they won’t come,” said Haley. “We base the timing on water temperature for the trout, between November and April, when it’s low enough for trout to survive. When it’s not low enough, we stock catfish.”

In August, catfish were stocked at Lake Jennings. Photo: Helix Water DIstrict

In August, catfish were stocked at Lake Jennings. Photo: Helix Water District

In addition, large-mouth bass, red-ear sunfish, and bluegill, as well as channel and blue catfish live in Lake Jennings. Sign up for the Lake Jennings Fish Report online to see what fish are biting.

Haley says she enjoys her new role as a fisheries manager.

“I wouldn’t have called myself a fisherman before I got here,” said Haley. “I know more about fish than I ever thought I would know.

“It’s a very active community. They care so much about the lake and the health of the fish and the fisheries. It’s a great group of people to work with. Most fishermen are good stewards of the land itself. They see a piece of trash, they pick it up.”

Santee Lakes a popular family fishing stop

Santee Lakes, operated by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, also stocks 12,500 pounds of trout and 24,000 pounds of catfish annually in the fall months for its anglers.

The catfish have been biting big this season at Santee Lakes. Photo: Courtesy Santee Lakes/Padre MWD

The catfish have been biting big this season at Santee Lakes. Photo: Courtesy Santee Lakes/Padre MWD

San Diego County’s year-round lakes also offer hiking, walking, biking, and picnicking.

Three of San Diego’s reservoirs (Lake Hodges, San Vicente, and El Capitan) allow windsurfing, water skiing, and the use of personal watercraft. Stand up paddle boarding was added this year at Lake Hodges. Barrett Lake and Lake Sutherland offer bird hunting.

Santee Lakes is among the county's most popular family recreation spots. Photo: Santee Lakes/Padre Dam MWD

Santee Lakes is among the county’s most popular family recreation spots. Photo: Santee Lakes/Padre Dam MWD

Norris hopes more people will visit and enjoy an escape from everyday urban life.

“There are so many reservoirs around the county that provide recreational opportunities; it’s unfortunate. Everyone thinks of beaches when they think of San Diego,” said Norris.

Stand up paddle boarding is a new activity now permitted at Lake Hodges. Photo: City of San Diego

Stand up paddle boarding is a new activity permitted at Lake Hodges. Photo: City of San Diego

Easier access to recreation information on new website

As part of an ongoing effort on making it easier for the public to access recreation information, the City of San Diego reservoir lakes website has been revised and enhanced.

The website features fishing, hunting, and recreation information, an interactive map, and a photo gallery. New graphics help anglers determine the types of fish available at the City’s reservoirs. Expanded details provide users with access to the fish catch report and details about boating and permits as well as employment and volunteer opportunities.

San Diegans attending the Pure Water Day Open House could sample the purified water produced at the North City Water Reclamation Plant's demonstration facility. Photo: City of San Diego

Pure Water Day Delivers Pure Family Fun

The City of San Diego held its third ‘Pure Water Day’ Open House at the North City Water Reclamation Plant in the Miramar area, inviting residents to enjoy family-friendly activities and learn about the upcoming project construction.

More than 300 community members took tours of the five-step water purification process at the Demonstration Facilities. Photo: City of San Diego

More than 300 people took tours of the five-step water purification process at the demonstration facilities. Photo: City of San Diego

More than 300 people took tours of the five-step water purification process at the Pure Water Demonstration Facility and tasted the purified water produced at the facility following their tour. Residents of University City, Clairemont, and Scripps Ranch learned about Phase 1 of construction scheduled in their neighborhoods.

“We are excited to once again open our doors to the community, and share how we will deliver a new, safe, local source of drinking water for San Diego,” said John Helminski, assistant director of the San Diego Public Utilities Department.

Attendees enjoyed a variety of family-friendly activities at the third annual Pure Water Day. Photo: City of San Diego

Attendees enjoyed a variety of family-friendly activities at the third annual Pure Water Day. Photo: City of San Diego

Pure Water first phase starts construction later this year

Pure Water San Diego is a multi-year phased program using proven technology to clean recycled water to produce safe, high-quality potable water. After construction is completed, the Pure Water Program is expected to provide one-third of the City of San Diego’s water supply by 2035.

The first phase of construction includes the North City Pure Water Facility, new pump stations and pipelines, and upgrades to existing facilities. The North City Pure Water Facility will be constructed on City of San Diego owned property east of Interstate 805 and north of Eastgate Mall, across from the existing North City Water Reclamation Plant.

Purified water produced at the completed plant will be delivered to the Miramar Reservoir, blended with the City of San Diego’s imported and local water sources, and treated again at the existing Miramar Drinking Water Treatment Plant. After this process, the water will be distributed to customers. Construction of Phase 1 is expected to begin later this year and is scheduled for completion in 2023.

San Diego County Water Authority Logo Stacked Tagline

Water Authority Earns Regional Awards for Construction Project

San Diego, Calif. – The regional chapter of the American Public Works Association today conferred two Project of the Year awards on the San Diego County Water Authority for a pipeline upgrade in Scripps Ranch and a rebuilt pump station near Miramar Reservoir, both of which will help ensure reliable water deliveries across the San Diego region.