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Manteca to state: No way

Council says plan jeopardizes drinking water

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Manteca to state: No way

The drought has lowered the Stanislaus River flowing past Caswell Park.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/


POSTED November 17, 2016 1:18 a.m.

The Manteca City Council fears the proposed Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan will jeopardize municipal drinking water and imperil not just agriculture but the overall Northern San Joaquin Valley economy.
The council adopted a resolution Tuesday against the plan. The resolution urges the State Water Control Board to pursue a more comprehensive solution that prioritizes non-flow measures to protect native fish species. That includes predation reduction programs “before requiring flow increases that would threaten the economic vitality of our region’s counties, cities and small family farms.”
The resolution reads, “there is reasonable and significant doubt that the flows described in the (plan) will benefit native fish populations or promote ecosystem restoration. The (plan) focuses narrowly on flows as a solution to environmental concerns while ignoring non-flow alternatives such as predator suppression and fish habitat restoration. Such non-flow management measures are often less costly and more effective.”
It also points out the plan to increase unimpaired flows on the Stanislaus River from February to June would significantly increase not just Manteca’s reliance on groundwater but that of the entire region at a time when the state wants to cap groundwater pumping.
The resolution also notes a loss of hydro-electric power when it is needed the most in the summer due to reduced water flows as the result of larger releases in the spring.
If it the state plan were in place for the current water year:
The SSJID would only have 105,000 acre feet of water or a 64 percent reduction in supplies.
That would limit water delivers to 56,000 acres to 12 inches per acre of water. Almonds, as one example, need 36 inches of water just to stay alive.
Between 2,300 and 6,200 acres of farmland around Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon would be fallowed.
The 193,000 urban water customers SSJID provides for in Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy would see a 64 percent cutback in surface water deliveries.
Given the pending state mandate concerning groundwater sustainability, the cities couldn’t simply pump more well water and would be forced to stop issuing building permits and put severe water conservation measures in place.
The three cities with SSJID water cutbacks would have $127 million in stranded capital costs due to water sales being cutback 64% they would have to covered including bond debt and ongoing operational costs meaning water customers in Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy would experience significant rate increases.
The State Water Control Board after first refusing to have meetings in the Northern San Joaquin Valley to receive public input has relented and scheduled three of them.
They are 9 a.m. each day on:
Friday, Dec. 16, at the Stockton Civic Auditorium
Monday, Dec. 19, at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center
Wednesday, Dec. 20, at Modesto Centre Plaza

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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