Soda Lake


Soda Lake Watershed

The Soda Lake Watershed lies in the eastern portion of San Luis Obispo‘s North County region and includes the northern portion of the Carrizo National Monument. The total watershed area is 141,876 acres with a majority of the acreage located within San Luis Obispo County (136,015 acres). The remaining acreage is located within Kern County to the east. The watershed is bounded by Temblor Range to the east, Caliente Range and San Juan Hills to the west and drains entirely into Soda Lake. The majority of Soda Lake is contained within the watershed, with the other portion contained within the Black Sulphur Springs watershed. The Watershed contains two major drainages: Panorama Hills and West of Soda Lake. The highest elevation in the watershed is approximately 4,100 feet and the lowest elevation is about 1,920 feet. The watershed, combined with the adjacent Black Sulphur Spring watershed, is an alkali closed basin with no outflow beyond Soda Lake. While the lake once contained higher levels of water and supported recreation, recently the Bureau of Land Management prohibits such uses. The watershed is transected by San Andreas Fault. The major groundwater basin underlying the watershed is the Carrizo Plain basin which is recharged from percolation of stream flow and infiltration of precipitation. The dominant land uses are grazing and solar farms.



Hydrologic Unit Name:

Carrizo Plain 11

Water Planning Area:

Carrizo Plain WPA 10


141,876 total acres with 136,015 acres within San Luis Obispo County

Flow to:

Soda Lake

Groundwater Basin(s):

Carrizo Plain, Big Spring Area (ptn)


County of San Luis Obispo, California Valley, Bureau of Land Management

Watershed Plans:


Full Data Snapshot

Download the Watershed Snapshot for more detailed information such as:

  • Rainfall
  • Geology
  • Hydrology models
  • Vegetation
  • Special status wildlife and plants
  • Land use
  • Demographics
  • Major changes in the watershed
  • Watershed health
  • Groundwater

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