Sonny Dhaliwal knows that there isn’t an endless supply of water every time he turns on his tap.
And he hopes that the residents of Lathrop – the town he has overseen as mayor and represented in some formal capacity for more than a decade – have come to realize the exact same thing.
While the city isn’t facing any sort of scenario where they’re going to run out of water anytime soon, Dhaliwal has taken a proactive stance on pushing a conservation agenda whenever possible so that the city can come in well below the 20 percent reduction mandated by the State of California and help residents develop healthier habits as the state faces one of the worst droughts in its history.
“We have restrictions in place for residential, commercial and industrial users but we need to continue to be mindful and careful about how we use our water,” Dhaliwal said. “I encourage everybody to be careful about how they use their water and make sure they’re doing what they can to help conserve.”
Currently it’s the city’s Public Works department that’s tasked with monitoring the overall water usage and reporting those numbers to the state for tracking purposes. Outside of putting enhanced watering restrictions in place – only allowing certain residences to water on certain days and only during certain hours – there isn’t really much more that the city can do.
Earlier this month City Manager Steve Salvatore said that the city is stretched too thin to enforce the restrictions by writing tickets. Lathrop had used 17 percent less water last year than it did the year before – a full 12-month cycle where the entire state was blanketed by drought conditions and a designation.
“It’s one of those things where you do what you can do and just hope that Mother Nature takes care of the rest,” resident Kyle Marksley said. “It’s a scary situation to think about what it might be like if this continues for a few more years. There are all of these scenarios that people talk about, but something like a lack of water could be disastrous. Hopefully it won’t get to that point.”
Dhalwial said that in his tenure as a representative for the City of Lathrop – either on the council or the planning commission – he’s never seen a situation like this or heard of one happening in the recent past.
Every last drop, he said, matters in a situation like this.
“We don’t know how long this drought is going to last,” he said. “That’s why we have these restrictions in place. We need to make sure that we follow them.”