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Cities digging themselves into deep, dry hole

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POSTED March 27, 2014 12:31 a.m.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

For months now, we’ve heard on the local news or read in the Bulletin about the effects of the statewide drought emergency, and what local governments, farmers, businesses, and water providers are doing about the problem. So I was a bit perplexed when I read your article on March 22 about the 14,310 new homes, apartments, and living units ready to build, approved, or pending approval here in Manteca. When I added the numbers, I came up with 16,958 for some reason.

You pointed out that the new residents of this housing would increase the city’s population by 40,000 or more, a more than 50% increase over current levels. A 2011 study found that the average family uses 360 to 400 gallons of water per day, primarily on indoor use. Residents of the hotter areas of the Central Valley, coincidentally the hardest hit area in the state during the current drought emergency, used considerably more water than the average user. So I wonder, will all of these new residents be bringing their own water with them?

When you combine the number of new living units, businesses, and water users in Manteca with the new residents, businesses, schools, and other facilities scheduled for construction in River Islands, as well as the new building proposed in Lathrop and other neighboring communities, I have to wonder what our local government officials are thinking, or are they thinking at all? 

The developers couldn’t care less. They build, they sell and they’re gone. We, on the other hand, are all left sitting atop the same shrinking aquifer, with diminishing above ground water supplies, and if predictions are correct, less rainfall and smaller winter snow packs are the new normal for our state for the foreseeable future.

Will Rogers said ‘When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.’ I think it’s time that we insist that our state and local government officials stop digging us into an even deeper, and dryer, hole than we already find ourselves in, and take another look at the current ‘come one, come all’ policy of continuous new development.

 

Stephen Breacain

Manteca


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