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Communities downstream from El Capitan reservoir experience flooding following storms

Posted at 7:11 PM, Aug 25, 2023

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) — Communities downstream from El Capitan reservoir in Lakeside continue to deal with flooding following major storms that move through the area.

"Usually it’s bone dry,” said Doug Lawrence.

Lawrence showed 10News the main road to his property. In the days following Tropical Storm Hilary, it became flooded as water was released from El Capitan reservoir.

Before the storm, residents did receive a notice letting them know that the city would be releasing water from the reservoir in anticipation of the rain, and that they may experience water flowing in the area.

"It affects the residents because this is basically our driveway,” said Lawrence.

While the flooding from this most recent storm was manageable, Lawrence showed 10News photos from the storms earlier this year. Several cars became stuck and needed to be rescued in waters that were deceptively deep.

"They're not rapids now…but they were rapids,” said Lawrence. "We had a mail truck get stuck out there. At that point it's 2-3 feet deep in spots…I'll hook them up to the back of my truck and pull them up from there.”

According to the city, El Capitan reservoir does have three spillway improvement projects on the horizon: one to improve the steep slope of the spillway, one to remove vegetation that has grown and one to repair its concrete.

Whether or not those projects will improve flooding here when it rains, is unclear for now.

The city says those three projects are scheduled to be completed by 2025.

In the meantime, residents are urged to respect any barricades put up pre-storm.