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Swimmers splash at Castaic Lake

Waters levels won’t dip as low as anticipated

Posted: July 11, 2009 8:31 p.m.
Updated: July 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.

A power boat and fishing boats hug the shoreline on Saturday at Castaic Lake.

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Swimmers crowded the shores and lower lake in Castaic on Saturday, and many said reduced hours wouldn’t put much of a damper on their recreational plans.

“We’re going to come here on the weekends anyway because of my job,” said Antonio Allas of Los Angeles as he watched over his two young daughters splashing in the shallow lake waters.

Starting this month, the lake is closed to swimmers on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays through Sept. 7 due to Los Angeles county budget cuts.

Maria Murphy and husband, Chris Still, took a day trip to Castaic Lake from Santa Barbara for some swimming and lounging in the shade.

Although the cut in hours doesn’t affect the couple, Murphy said cutting back swimming hours doesn’t help families who are looking for recreational activities during the week.

“If the state is serious about wanting healthy children, then cutting recreation out for them is actually not in the best interest of the state,” she said.

On the lower level boat launch, the Mance family and dog Leyna took their weekly kayaking adventure.

Despite recent reports that Castaic Lake water levels would sink significantly, the Mances said they really didn’t notice a difference.

“We’ve come out here for years. (The water level) seems the same to me,” said Robert Mance of Canyon Country.

In May, officials had warned that lake levels could drop as much as 80 feet from full due to a storage agreement with the Department of Water Resources, which owns Castaic Lake.

But last week Ralph Searcy, supervising lifeguard for the Castaic Lake Recreation Area, said the level wouldn’t drop that much.

“Roughly we’re going to go down approximately 40 vertical feet — that’s our estimate from the Department of Water Resources,” Searcy said.

That also means the number of boats on the water will not have to be slashed, as had been expected, because the lake will not have to shut its lower launch ramp.

Under an agreement with the Department of Water Resources, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is allowed to take water from Castaic Lake to supplement its water needs.

But Thursday, Metropolitan Water District spokesman Bob Muir said not as much water will have to be drafted from Castaic Lake as anticipated because the water allocation MWD receives from other sources has been increased.

If the lower launch had to close, Marie Mance said, “I don’t think we would come here.”



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