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Lathrop cuts watering to 2 days
Tougher restrictions in effect immediately
Lathrop has imposed cutbacks in how often landscaping can be watered going from three days down to two days a week. - photo by Photo Contributed

LATHROP – You might want to think twice before grabbing that garden hose.

The City of Lathrop officially has new water regulations.

In response to a mandate by the State of California, the city council voted unanimously to curtail the number of days that residents and commercial businesses can water down to two days from three days and banned water runoff – a response to the State of California’s critical drought status and the coming dry months that are expected to deplete supplies further.

As per the recommendation of staff, all commercial and industrial customers can only water landscaping on Tuesday and Friday before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Residents with odd-numbered addresses may water on Wednesday and Sunday before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m., and residents with even-numbered addresses have to follow the same timetable. There is no watering allowed on Mondy, Thursday and Saturday.

And flooding that garden might land you a fine.

Any sort of watering that includes water that runs off into a neighboring parcel or down onto a city sidewalk or into a gutter will be a violation of the refined ordinance. Lathrop already has a city water-conservation ordinance and is simply strengthening it to comply with new state standards. They also increased fines.

There really wasn’t much of a choice for the city to act.

While councilman Omar Ornelas wasn’t necessarily keen on voting for something when it was essentially an outright mandate – questioning whether the city should pay the state’s fine or not – the issue included other concerns such as the South San Joaquin Irrigation District’s decision that it would curtail deliveries of surface water to the cities that it serves by 20 percent because of the escalating drought situation.

A little bit of conservation now on the part of residents might actually end up being far less restrictive than what could happen if usage were to go unabated.

According to the city’s staff report prepared for the matter, the state’s mandate being imposed on individual municipalities – Manteca agreed to institute the same schedule and the County of San Joaquin put its first water-rationing ordinance in place two weeks ago – could draw the wrath of the State Water Resources Control Board that oversees distribution during tight years.

The emergency water measures have been escalating in California since Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought State of Emergency in January.

San Joaquin County Director of the Office of Emergency Services Mike Cockrell said that while the council will consider the drought matter separately, the state has secured through purchase an allotment of water in the Fresno and Madera area that they would distribute in the event of dire emergency.

As an urgency ordinance that received four-fifths of the council approval, it will be incorporated into the city’s municipal code immediately.