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Atascadero Lake begins to refill after pipeline is fixed

Piped water flows into Atascadero Lake

Atascadero has fixed its pipeline that diverts water from Atascadero Creek to Atascadero Lake. Here, water pours into the lake on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016.
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Atascadero has fixed its pipeline that diverts water from Atascadero Creek to Atascadero Lake. Here, water pours into the lake on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016.

A pipeline that diverts water from Atascadero Creek to Atascadero Lake has been fixed, which will help refill a lake that has been dry for months.

A steady flow of water from the pipeline, on the east side of Atascadero Lake near Lake View Drive, has helped to create new pockets of water and start to replenish the lake’s supply.

Roberta Fonzi, an Atascadero city councilwoman, said the city repaired the clogged and leaky pipe, which is about 8 inches in diameter, in the past couple of months. It has been around since the 1920s, she said.

This month, the city removed the 75 goats that had been grazing on the lakebed to keep vegetation down.

I think there are 28,000 people in Atascadero who want to see that lake full again.

Bob Kelley, Atascadero city councilman

Officials hope that El Niño rains will continue to provide some much-needed water for Atascadero Lake.

“There are 28,000 people in Atascadero who want to see that lake full again,” said Bob Kelley, an Atascadero city councilman. “The City Council has identified the Lake Park and the (nearby) zoo as one of the basic hot spots to maintain and improve as an attraction for tourists and locals.”

Once the water is restored, Atascadero also expects increased revenues at the Pavilion on the Lake, a facility the city rents out for weddings and other events.

At capacity, the lake can hold up to 68 million gallons of water over 30 acres. When it’s full, its deepest point is 13 feet.

68 millionGallons of water filling Atascadero Lake when it’s at capacity

City Council members previously opted not to spend at least $500,000 to truck in water to keep the lake full — money that Mayor Tom O’Malley said the city didn’t have.

“Plus, if we’d done that, the water would have just evaporated anyway,” O’Malley said last week.

According to slocountywater.org, Atascadero has received 5.04 inches of rainfall since July 1, and 2.21 inches since Jan. 4.

The city’s annual average rainfall is 18 inches, according to the San Luis Obispo County website.

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