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Citizens water conservation group meets
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A 10-member citizens committee meeting Thursday could set in motion changes that may drastically alter how people in Manteca not just use water but how the city itself looks in the future.

The council appointed Manteca Water Conservation Citizens Committee meets at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

They will select a chairperson, brainstorm water conservation ideas and options to research and explore as well as discuss water conservation options. The public will have the opportunity to comment.

The City Council has made it clear that not only does Manteca need rules and policies in place to cut water consumption by 32 percent to meet the state mandated cutbacks to deal with the current severe drought, but that reduced water use is something that is needed going forward to sustain the community and local economy.

Manteca already has adopted 10 conservation strategies ranging from reducing the front yard lawn size for new homes and increasing rebates for water efficient washing machines as well as toilets to authorizing the hiring of a water coordinator and two part-time people to roam the city to advise people if they are wasting water, tell them how to correct the situation and if needed cite them.

The city is currently dealing with a 20 percent cutback of surface water deliveries from the treatment plant near Woodward Reservoir using Stanislaus River water that is operated by the South San Joaquin Irrigation District.

At the same time, the state is moving forward with plans to require groundwater management policies to be put in place that will ultimately limit how much water farmers and cities can take in a given year from aquifers.

And even if water was plentiful, reducing water use in Manteca would benefit the pocketbooks of everyone. That’s because it can cost upwards of $1 million plus just to drill and install a basic municipal well not including treatment and infrastructure. It is even more costly to pay for expansion of the surface water treatment plant.

By requiring fewer wells in the future, the city can keep water costs down.