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Conserving drinking water & tax dollars
5 parks no longer irrigating from city system
Non-potable water will soon keep the grass green for less money at five municipal parks. - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin
Manteca has found a way to keep the grass green and to save taxpayers green at the same time.

Five municipal parks will start irrigating using non-potable water that typically is drawn from a higher water table and isn’t suitable for drinking.

It is all part of an overall citywide strategy to reduce the costs of municipal services while at the same time striving to improve efficiency.

Treated drinking water costs substantially more than untreated water. At the same time, the parks are irrigated in the early morning hours when demand is highest when people are getting ready for work. Switching the five parks off the city’s drinking water system will help improve pressure.

It also helps conserve water which is a growing concern as California deals with three straight years of drought plus tries to secure adequate water supplies for the future.

There is even an added bonus of lower electricity use. Since water is being drawn from a higher aquifer, there is less electricity involved to run the pumps at the various wells.

Before the city launched into the construction phase of the program in 2009, it was noted that the nitrate levels in the higher water tables while making water unfit for human consumption but ideal for vegetation as it effectively fertilizes grass and plants. That will help keep grass greener as well as the fact water is on a separate system which means coverage will be better to eliminate brown spots from developing during hot weather from inadequate water coverage.

The bottom line is switching park irrigation - the city’s biggest single water use - off of the system. It reduces the need to increase treated water capacity thus saving money in the long haul as well.

Parks that have had new irrigation wells installed are Chadwick, Springport, Bella Vista and Primavera. Southside Park’s municipal water well was taken off the system due to unsuitable water quality. New pipes were put in to use the water to irrigate the park.

Eight more parks are targeted for conversion to irrigation wells in the coming years.