The Water Resources Agency manages, protects, stores and conserves water resources in Monterey County for beneficial and environmental use, while minimizing damage from flooding to create a safe and sustainable water supply for present and future generations.
The Reclamation Ditch #1665 (Rec Ditch) was originally constructed in 1917. The Monterey County Water Resources Agency (MCWRA) is responsible for operations and maintenance of portions of the Reclamation Ditch mainstem, tributaries, and five pump stations (System). The Reclamation Ditch Watershed consists of an area of approximately 157 square miles within Monterey County and a very small portion of San Benito County. The Rec Ditch flows southeast to northwest, draining a series of natural lakes which are linked by a system of lateral ditches (tributaries) and pumping facilities. At certain locations, the slope of the Rec Ditch is steep enough to cause erosive channel velocities at high flows before flattening significantly, and reducing flow velocity and allowing increased sediment deposition. At the upstream end of the System is Smith Lake, southeast of the City of Salinas. From Smith Lake the Rec Ditch drains through Carr Lake and flows northwest towards Castroville. These lakes provide stormwater runoff detention before entering the Rec Ditch and are primarily farmed during the dry season. Near Castroville the Rec Ditch flows into Tembladero Slough, which drains Merritt Lake. Tembladero Slough flows past Castroville into the Old Salinas River. The Old Salinas River discharges through tide gates at Potrero Road into Moss Landing Harbor and ultimately the Monterey Bay.