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SSJID cup is more than half empty

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POSTED September 4, 2014 2:02 a.m.

When the water year ends on Sept. 30, South San Joaquin Irrigation District expects to have 2,500 acre feet of water leftover

Just how close is that cutting it?

An acre foot contains 325,357 gallons of water. Based on current Manteca water consumption patterns, the 2,500 acre feet would be enough to take care of the water needs of 7,500 households for a year. That means there is only enough water left from SSJID’s allotment for the current water year to meet the needs of less than a third of Manteca’s population.

There will be water in Woodward Reservoir to meet urban needs in Tracy, Lathrop and Manteca over the winter when there are no diversions from the Stanislaus River watershed. That’s assuming, of course, there is no spike in water consumption.

The close shave underscores the message SSJID has been delivering for the past 10 months: The SSJID could get by this year but a fourth year of drought or even a somewhat normal year for rain and snow will require some serious cutbacks on the part of both farmers and urban users.

And here’s the worst of it: That said, SSJID is still in better shape than most of California when it comes to water.

Praying for rain — and snow — this winter may not be that bad of an idea.

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