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Tougher Manteca water rules?

Point of use tankless water heaters for new homes among options

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Tougher Manteca water rules?

The Tuolumne River flows are dropping to near record lows.

Photo courtesy Department of Water Resources/

POSTED August 22, 2014 1:48 a.m.

Manteca is working on more severe water conservation measures that are expected to be considered by the City Council in 30 to 45 days just as the highest water use period of the year ends.

Although having Manteca’ elected officials possibly implement tighter water use regulations for the city’s 72,000 residents plus businesses by the end of September seems late in the game, it actually will set the stage for what has been worrying municipal leaders — a fourth year of drought. The next water and weather year starts on Oct. 1.

Water consumption is historically highest in June, July, August, and September. 

South San Joaquin Irrigation District has put cities and farmers alike on notice that at this point a year of even normal rain may still require additional cutbacks in water use,

City Manager Karen McLaughlin told Manteca Rotarians during their Thursday meeting at Isadore’s restaurant that staff is currently cobbling together potential water saving measures ranging from how water is used to new building requirements.

McLaughlin said various council members expressed varied approaches they wanted to take to implement a state mandate to reduce water use. Some preferred putting in place conservation rules aimed at securing a numeric goal such as reducing water use by 20 to 30 percent. Others wanted to look at technology changes to make saving water a more passive act.

That is why a list of options are being compiled for the council to consider fashioning a stepped up municipal water conservation effort.

Among the options is possibly requiring new construction to have point of use tankless water heaters.

Such systems that cost between $180 and $400 depending upon their size deliver instant hot water. As such a typical home will reduce water use by 10 gallons or the amount of water that runs down the drain while it is being warmed up to take a shower, bath or wash dishes. 

That would translate into a 3 to 4 percent reduction in water use for a typical Manteca household.

A standard water heater runs between $300 and $480.

Manteca may also reexamine its water conservation rules. For example, residents can water three days a week based on whether their address is odd or even. Manteca could switch to fewer days as Lathrop just did giving everyone only two days to water landscaping.

Overall, Manteca used 557.395 million gallons of water in July. That’s down 10.4 percent from July 2013 when Manteca used 610.777 million gallons.

The July water use report from the City of Manteca Public Works Department contrasts with June when the city reduced water use by 20.4 percent. Manteca went from 631 million in June 2013 to 502 million gallons in June 2014. Water use dropped in May by 8 percent going from 534 million gallons in May 2013 down to 490 million gallons in May 2014.

Gov. Jerry Brown called for urban users to reduce water consumption by 20 percent when he declared a state of emergency when California started its third consecutive drought year in January.

Manteca’s water conservation effort has been much more effective though than many of its neighboring cities. Ripon, as an example, reduced water use in August by 8.7 percent.

Tracy, though, saved significantly more slashing July year-to-year use by almost 25 percent.

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