CHULA VISTA, Calif. – A group of East County residents made the trip to the South Bay Wednesday evening to fight for the reopening of Loveland Reservoir. It’s a topic they’ve been raising concern about for several months now.
“We’re working with our insurance to make sure there’s no liability for the agency, so we will be looking at reopening the trail probably in the next few weeks,” said Carlos Quintero, General Manager at Sweetwater Authority.
Community members from Alpine and the surrounding area near the Loveland Reservoir finally got the first glimmer of hope as to when the reservoir might reopen.
Recreation has been cut off since early this year, but residents were devastated when Loveland was first drained, killing off the fish in November 2022.
“When you destroy an ecosystem like that, it does not come back. You have to rebuild it,” David Thomas said.
According to Sweetwater Authority, the action was taken during drought conditions to provide drinking water and other water needs to South Bay communities, which the authority serves despite the reservoir being located in East County.
“Every day the gates are locked is a violation of the easement. Our request is simple: re-open Loveland. Restore the fishing program. Stop draining to dead pool,” Karen Wood said.
Until now, the Sweetwater Authority has given no timeline about when people might regain access to the area. The closure was justified by citing safety concerns, due to erosion in the area after heavy winter storms.
“It’s not a safe environment, so that’s why it’s not fully open right now, but we do have every intent to fix it as soon as possible,” said Hector Martinez, Chairman of the Sweetwater Authority Board.
Residents pushed for at least a partial reopening of the area at Wednesday’s Sweetwater Authority meeting.
“Please open the safe resources ASAP. We understand there are some other things that need to be resolved,” John Allen said.
However, there was some disappointment that public comment time was cut down from three minutes down to just one minute per speaker.
Mary Davis called it a “form of censorship and suppression,” while Russell Walsh commented, “the agenda said three minutes and to just change it like that after we have come a three-hour round-trip is unconscionable.”
The board also discussed the budget for the next year, which includes a potential $50,000 in funding for repairs at Loveland Reservoir. That funding would still have to be voted on and the budget should be finalized in June.
In the meantime, the Sweetwater Authority says it will provide an update as soon as there is an exact date for reopening.