Lake Poway nears spillover level; hiking trails, Blue Sky closed

Posted at 2:03 PM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 15:33:10-05

POWAY, Calif. - Heavy rainfall throughout the day Monday has caused the water level at Lake Poway to near spillover levels, lake officials said Tuesday.

Due to the rains, the water level is approaching the concrete spillway designed to divert excess water to a nearby canyon. Water could flow over the spillway as early as this evening, according to Rene Carmichael, the city's community outreach coordinator.

"The spillway is a 100-foot wide span of concrete located on the east side of the dam," Carmichael said in a release. "The spillway is designed to provide a safe route to divert excess water from the lake."

Carmichael said city crews are trying to lower the lake's water level by diverting the excess water into Poway's drinking water system. She cautioned residents that there is no immediate danger to the public.

The dam was inspected Tuesday morning and said to be structurally sound.

Carmichael said in a separate release Tuesday that the lake would be also closed on Wednesday.

"City crews will be assessing storm damage and making necessary repairs to ensure safe trail and park conditions," Carmichael wrote. The closure includes no fishing, boating, hiking, or other lake activities. Blue Sky Ecological Reserve will also be closed Wednesday.
Hiking and park trails will reopen once conditions are safe enough, the release said.

If water does flow over the spillway, it will enter a canyon on the north side of Lake Poway Dam. The area is low-lying and includes natural creek beds, Carmichael said.

The water's flow path is into the canyon, through portions of the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, under Old Coach Road, along Thompson Creek and finally into Lake Hodges.

Poway residents can sign up for alerts from AlertSanDiego, the regional notification system, for any updates on any affected areas.

The last time Lake Poway's water level flowed over was in 1997, when water flowed over the spillway for an entire week. There were no reported injuries to residents or damage to property at that time.