Lathrop used 17 percent less water in 2014.
The city is expected to take between seven and eight percent more of its surface water allotment from the South San Joaquin Irrigation District to help supply the burgeoning development in the community over the course of the next year. But according to City Manager Steve Salvatore, the city’s existing well system – comprised of five wells that dot the outskirts of the city – provide more than enough water for the majority of the city’s needs.
Of the nearly 8,000 acre-feet of water that the City of Lathrop is allocated from SSJID as part of its agreement from the surface water treatment plant, the city uses nearly none of it – a sliver of that amount that is expected to increase slightly to help supply homes in River Islands that are being moved into now and businesses at the Crossroads Business Park that are now becoming occupied.
Water restrictions that were handed down by the State of California when Governor Jerry Brown declared an official drought emergency back in January of 2014 were stepped up later that year when water forecasts turned out to be far worse than previously expected. Cities across the state were asked to push for 20 percent water conservation rates through rationing and enforcement of violations – watering during the day, on days that weren’t authorized and overwatering being fineable offenses.
But according to Salvatore, actually enforcing the enacted ordinance – which was done by mandate of the State of California – was easier said than done.
Having somebody full-time actually go out and investigate claims, he said, would have taken more manpower than the city had to spare. Just keeping up on the work that is already backlogged in nearly every department is complicated enough.
And while the move to sell a portion of the city’s water rights to SSJID’s surface project to Tracy for a $5 million check raised more than a few eyebrows, Salvatore said that the long-term projections for Lathrop’s water – including future development at River Islands and commercial properties that could locate to the community – remain strong. The existing wells provide more than enough at the current time, and while other cities, he said, max out their allotment from SSJID, Lathrop currently has that, as well as the possibility of drilling additional wells, as a possible plan in the future.
“We’re using a lot less water than we did, and while that number is going to go up next year because of the development and the business that we have coming online, we’re in very good shape,” Salvatore said. “And we have enough water to serve the community for the foreseeable future and right now I don’t see that changing at all.”