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Heat is up, Manteca water use is down
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As May’s temperatures warmed up Manteca’s commitment to water conservation didn’t cool down.
Manteca reduced water use by 31 percent over 2013 levels in May despite the city growing from 71,000 to 74,500 residents during the past three years.  Manteca used 534 million gallons in May of 2013 compared to 368 million gallons last month.
It marked the second straight month Manteca has exceeded the state mandate to reduce water use by 27 percent as its fair share to help California weather the current drought.
A spot check Sunday of four neighborhoods — Woodward Park, Del Webb, Powers Tract, and Shasta Park — saw little evidence of water waste during allowable hours to irrigate landscaping, Run-off into gutters was at a minimum.
Several Bulletin readers indicated they have seen several people watering their lawns around 3 p.m. when it is expressly prohibited due to higher evaporation based on the heat and plants “shutting down” in terms of absorbing water which in turn also works to retain water during the hottest part of the day.
The Stanislaus River watershed that Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy all rely on for a large percentage of their drinking water and that surrounding farmers depend upon for their crops is the lowest in the state at 27 percent capacity. That reflects 77 percent of the historical average on June 12.
Shasta Lake that has a capacity of some 2 million more acre feet than New Melones at 2.4 million acre feet is at 89 percent of capacity.
The South San Joaquin Irrigation District — thanks to its superior water rights secured over a century ago and aggressive conservation efforts — has adequate water to meet the needs of farmers and cities this year if conversation efforts continue.
Stricter water rules
for Manteca in place
Stricter water rules are now in place for Manteca residents and businesses.
Failure to comply could cost you as much as $500.
uNo water is allowed on any day at any time for washing off sidewalks, driveways, patios, parking lots or other exterior non-landscaped areas without a permit obtained from the Manteca Public Works Department office at the Civic Center.
uNo water is allowed to flow into a gutter or other drainage area for longer than 5 minutes. All water leaks or malfunctions in plumbing or irrigation systems must be fixed with 24 hours.
uNo irrigation is allowed during or within 48 hours following measurable rainfall as defined by storms that generate run-off or puddles.
Penalties include a written notice on the first violation, a $100 fine with applicable fees on the second violation that may be waived by attending a water conservation workshop a $200 fine and applicable fees on the third violation; and $500 fines for each and every subsequent violation plus applicable fees.
No watering is allowed on Monday or any day between noon and 6 p.m. Watering for even addresses is on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday while odd addresses can water on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
There are also other pressures on the water supplies besides the drought.
Over drafting of valley aquifers prompted the state to put in place requirements that groundwater basins be managed to the point that no more water is taken from the ground than is put back into it. Given Manteca relies on ground water as well as surface water from the Stanislaus River watershed the new directive will impact the city.
There are also ongoing efforts to commandeer water on the Stanislaus River and nearby rivers for use for increased fish flows.
City officials have warned “water conservation is going to be a way of life from here on out.”
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email