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Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellon shared her expertise with citizens as part of the City’s #AskAnExpert series on Instagram. Photo: City of San Diego/Instagram

San Diegans #AskAnExpert Reservoir Recreation Questions

Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellon shared her expertise with citizens during the City of San Diego’s #AskAnExpert series on Instagram as part of the City’s community outreach to citizens. The City regularly offers the opportunity for the public to ask employees about its services including parks, libraries, streets, and water.

“We find that it’s a great way to get general information about City services to the public,” said Arian Collins, public information officer with the San Diego Public Utilities Department.

Castellon answered several questions about the recreation offered at the City’s lakes and reservoirs.

Can you rent boats at City of San Diego reservoirs?

Yes, the reservoirs do have boat rentals through the concessionaires. You can view the hours of operation and rentals fees online.

Social media outreach gives City of San Diego residents access to experts like Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellano. Photo: City of San Diego/Instagram

Social media outreach gives City of San Diego residents access to experts like Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellano. Photo: City of San Diego/Instagram

Is stand-up paddleboarding allowed at any City of San Diego reservoir?

Yes, Hodges Reservoir offers stand-up paddleboarding on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from the beginning of February through the end of October.

Can you swim at City of San Diego reservoirs?

No. What are commonly referred to as the San Diego City lakes are actually impounding reservoirs that are part of the City’s municipal water-supply system. The State Water Resources Control Board approves the different recreational activities that can occur on our reservoirs and swimming is not included in our current domestic water supply recreational permit.

Can you water ski at the City of San Diego reservoirs?

Yes, San Vicente Reservoir offers water-skiing and wakeboarding from May through October Thursday through Sunday.

Residents who would like to keep up with the latest information about the City’s reservoirs and lakes as well as other City of San Diego services can learn more at the City of San Diego website, as well as follow the City’s Instagram account for more #AskAnExpert opportunities.

New Lake Jennings Boat Dock Open

A new floating boat dock at popular reservoir and recreation facility Lake Jennings was unveiled with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 31 and opened to the public for boating and fishing activities.

(L to R): Director DeAna Verbeke, Board President Mark Gracyk, Director and Parks, Land, Lakes and Garden Committee Chair Dan McMillan, Director and Parks, Land, Lakes and Garden Committee ViceChair Joel Scalzitti, and Director Kathleen Hedberg cut the ribbon for the new Lake Jennings Boat Dock on Monday, August 31. Photo: Helix Water District

New Lake Jennings Boat Dock Open

A new floating boat dock at popular reservoir and recreation facility Lake Jennings was unveiled with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 31 and opened to the public for boating and fishing activities.

The dock is reinforced concrete encapsulating a solid polystyrene core, which makes the dock float. Numerous safety features include a nonskid concrete surface, enhanced security fencing and access gate, gangway handrails, and support posts to assist visitors as they enter and exit boats.

The new dock is replacing a wooden dock that, after 25 years, had reached the end of its useful life. Visitors use the dock to rent motorboats, rowboats, kayaks and paddleboats to explore the lake and catch fish.

Video of the new dock

New standard for future improvements at Lake Jennings

“Over the years, we have upgraded our campground facilities, installed new trails, and improved our recreation programs to make Lake Jennings a fantastic East County destination,” said Helix Water District board member and Parks, Land, Lakes and Garden Committee Vice-Chair Joel Scalzitti. “With our recent dock improvements, even more visitors can enjoy everything the lake has to offer.”

The modular dock is easily reconfigured and expanded and features a new, solar-powered dock house, lighting improvements for nighttime operations, shade structure, lockable kayak storage, and additional boat slips.

Visitors use the dock to rent motorboats, rowboats, kayaks and paddleboats to explore the lake and catch fish. The replacement dock is expected to last for generations to come. Photo: Helix Water District

Visitors can use the Lake Jennings boat dock to rent motorboats, rowboats, kayaks, and paddleboats to explore the lake. The replacement dock is expected to last for generations to come. Photo: Helix Water District

“This project is a long-term investment in our lake operations and the community,” said Helix Water District board member and Parks, Land, Lakes, and Garden Committee Chair Dan McMillan. “This is a high-quality dock and it sets the standard for future improvements at the lake.”

The district’s board is in the early stages of evaluating improvements of similar quality at the lake’s campground.

Lake Jennings is one of two reservoirs owned by Helix Water District. It has a water storage capacity of 9,790 acre-feet and is open to the public for boating, fishing, camping, and hiking.

The lake is currently open on Fridays from 3 p.m. to midnight for night fishing, and for fishing and day-use on Saturdays and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. The campground – which boasts full-hookup, partial-hookup, non-hookup, and tipi sites – is open daily and accepting reservations. Further information, including COVID-19 safety requirements for visitors, is available: www.lakejennings.org.

Risk of Covid-19 in Recreational Water is Low

The risk of contracting Covid-19 from both wastewater and recreational water is low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Studies conducted in multiple countries in recent months have detected the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, in treated and untreated wastewater, but to this date there has been no evidence of a person contracting the virus through wastewater or swimming areas.

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.

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.

Lake Jennings Campground Opens for RVs

The Lake Jennings campground will reopen Monday, May 18 – but only for recreational vehicles (RVs).  No tent camping will be allowed yet, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recreational side of the lake will remain closed.

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

Reservoirs, Lakes Remain Closed to Fishing Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Although San Diego County’s lakes and reservoirs remain closed to fishing and other recreational activities for safety reasons due to the coronavirus pandemic, staff and volunteers continue to work. Crews are maintaining facilities, providing security, and sharing photos of wildlife and native blooms enjoying the arrival of spring.

Sutherland Reservoir reopens for recreation in 2020 on Friday, March 6. Photo: City of San Diego

Sutherland Reservoir Opens For Recreation

The City of San Diego’s Sutherland Reservoir is now open to the public three days a week. The reservoir will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from sunrise to sunset, allowing access for boating, fishing, hiking and picnicking.

It will also open on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day and is closed the third Friday of each month.

The reservoir is about 45 miles northeast of San Diego at 22018 Sutherland Dam Road in Ramona.

People can hear an updated recorded message detailing current activities, schedules, fishing and hunting results at Sutherland Reservoir and other City of San Diego lakes by calling 619-465-FISH (619-465-3474).

Family activities include picnicking, fishing, and boating

Recreational activities at Sutherland Reservoir including boating, fishing, and picnicking. Photo: City of San Diego

Recreational activities at Sutherland Reservoir including boating, fishing, and picnicking. Photo: City of San Diego

Viviana Castellon, the City of San Diego’s reservoir maintenance supervisor,  said her team opened a little early this morning.

“The environment is beautiful, flora and fauna are raging,” said Castellon. “It’s a healthy environment biologically. It’s a backcountry reservoir, very inviting and relaxing. Depending on what you want to do, we have ADA accessibility. We expect people to have a great time at Sutherland,” said Castellon.

A bonus for spring visitors, Sutherland Reservoir is the midst of raptor mating season.

“Eagles are soaring, and we have peregrine falcons,” she said. “If people bring their binoculars, they’ll hear and see quite a bit.”

The recreation area features barbecues, picnic tables, and restrooms. Self-contained gas barbecues are allowed in the picnic area.

Water activities at Sutherland Reservoir include boating, canoeing, kayaking, sailboarding, and float tubing. Those activities are only allowed on Saturdays and Sundays. Leashed dogs are allowed. Turkey hunting at the reservoir is by reservation only, starting this year on March 30.

One of the most popular activities at Lake Sutherland is fishing. The lake contains largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, sunfish, and carp. Bowfishing is permitted for carp only, in compliance with California Department of Fish and Wildfire regulations. Special conditions apply and are listed on the City of San Diego’s website.

Swimming, ground fires, glass containers, and camping are not permitted. Take precautions to avoid rattlesnakes and poison oak, both of which are present at Sutherland Reservoir.

Maile Guerrero of La Mesa was honored for her photo of Sutherland Reservoir in the Water Authority's "Brought to You By Water' photo contest in 2018.

Maile Guerrero of La Mesa was honored for her photo of Sutherland Reservoir in the San Diego County Water Authority’s 2018 “Brought to You By Water” photo contest.

Construction on Sutherland Dam began in 1927, but it was not completed until 1954. The reservoir is operated and maintained by the City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department and is part of the city’s drinking water system.

For additional information about Sutherland Reservoir, including boating, fishing, and hunting rules, required permits, as well as details about the City’s other reservoirs, go to sandiego.gov/reservoirs-lakes.

San Diego’s Sutherland Reservoir in Ramona Reopening to Public on Friday

The city of San Diego’s Sutherland Reservoir will reopen for boating, fishing, hiking and picnicking three days each week beginning on Friday.

The reservoir, located 45 miles northeast of San Diego, will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from sunrise to sunset, and on the Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day holidays. It’s closed the third Friday of each month.

The recreation area has barbecues, picnic tables and restrooms. Dogs are allowed on leashes. Water activities including boating, canoeing, kayaking, sailboarding and float tubing are allowed on Saturdays and Sundays.