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City Lakes Section Highlight

Many of us have had the opportunity to enjoy a day of outdoor activities including fishing, boating, jet skiing, hiking and picnicking at one of the City’s nearby lakes. While we are enjoying a day of sun and aquatic activities, we don’t always think about the dedicated City employees who help to ensure that the water is clean, the surrounding habitat is preserved and protected and that the appropriate personnel are close by in the event of an accident. Yet that is precisely what the City Lakes Section does on a daily basis.

San Diego’s lakes are actually reservoirs which make up the City’s municipal water supply system. With the acquisition of the region’s nine reservoirs, City Lakes was established to manage raw water quality, to protect the surrounding environment and to accommodate the public’s access and safe use of the reservoirs.

As the region’s population has grown, the section has seen its share of changes in department oversight, number of employees and an expansion in the range of duties and responsibilities. Currently, there are 78 employees who are divided into three groups- Reservoir staff, Ranger Divers and Construction staff. The Reservoir staff is tasked with monitoring over 40,000 acres of watershed property! This includes reporting off-road activity, dumping and habitat destruction, monitoring water quality and assisting the public. The Construction staff is also responsible for an expansive amount of land as they must inspect and repair 70 miles of raw water pipelines, 9 miles of conduit and 20 miles of access roads. As you can imagine, both groups are incredibly busy with managing such a vast amount of territory and infrastructure. Ranger Divers also play a crucial role in public safety, water quality and dive support. The team has even been asked to assist in a search and recovery in Puerto Vallarta and also helped with the Chelsea King search efforts.

Due to ongoing and increased seasonal use, City Lakes staff works a variety of hours with some shifts starting as early as 4am and others that end as late as 9:30pm. Many staff members are also on-call at all hours of the day and night and work weekends and holidays. Staff is often personally thanked for the time they put in and have also been acknowledged for their tireless search and rescue efforts, for keeping nearby residents abreast on construction projects and have even been thanked for helping to recover a World War II plane at the Otay Reservoir.

So the next time you’re enjoying an afternoon of outdoor activities at one of the nearby reservoirs, take a moment to appreciate your surroundings and to thank the City Lakes staff who have helped to preserve and protect the region so that we might enjoy all that it has to offer.

Special thanks to Kevin Kidd- Tackaberry for his assistance and section profile.

If you would like your section or division featured in MEA’s quarterly magazine, Viewpoint, please contact Lora Folsom at lfolsom@sdmea.org or at 619.264.6632.