Leak is stopped at Turner Lake


Divers have stopped a leak at Turner Lake by shutting a valve that was jammed open, causing the reservoir to shed water through an outlet.
Valley Center Municipal Water District General Manager Gary Arant said the water was leaking at a rate of 150 gallons a minute and the district will undertake a permanent repair. He said the leak is not a threat to people downstream, and the district will be able to repair it using its own staff.
The leak does not affect water supply, because Turner Lake has not served as a water source since 1993.
Turner Dam was built on the upper reaches of Moosa Creek in the early 1970s to take advantage of untreated water coming from the San Diego Water Authority aqueduct, which is routed nearby. The district treated the water, but the lake’s water quality deteriorated severely over time as impurities collected in the lake, raising the treatment cost.
When the district began receiving treated water from the aqueduct in 1993, it was no longer feasible to treat Turner Lake water.
“It does support fish and bird populations, but as far as a water supply, it’s no longer usable,” Arant said. Firefighting helicopters occasionally draw water from the lake to refill their tanks during wildfires, but under normal circumstances the lake serves no water supply benefit.
Turner Lake lies just north of Alps Way between Hidden Meadows and Valley Center.