By Miriam Raftery
Photo left: water drains from Loveland Reservoir in Alpine to Sweetwater Reservoir in Otay;
Photo, right: bare mudflat at Loveland, once 400 surface acres, now doomed to be dropped to just 10.
November 23, 2022 (Alpine) – Without any regard to impacts on wildlife, fire danger, rural residents or recreational users at Loveland Reservoir near Alpine in San Diego's East County, the Sweetwater Water Authority (SWA) on November 16 began draining down the lake with an intent to reduce it to “dead pool” level – less than one-half of one percent of the reservoir’s capacity, once draining is completed over the next couple of weeks or so.
The water is being piped to Sweetwater Reservoir in Otay Mesa. From there, it will be used to provide drinking water and other water needs to residents in the South Bay communities of Chula Vista, National City and Bonita.
But critics say the action is destroying habitat for wildlife, perhaps forever, also eliminating fishing at the area's only reservoir with free fishing access, and threatening firefighters' ability to combat fast-moving wildfires . Critics also contend that draining the reservoir so low is unnecssary at current drought levels. Yet the people most negatively impacted have no representation on the SWA board, which doesn't include East County.