By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lathrop joins groundwater oversight effort
Placeholder Image

Roughly 80 percent of Lathrop’s water comes from the ground.

And while that ratio will change as the city takes more of its allotment of surface water from an agreement with the South San Joaquin Irrigation District over the coming years, planners want to make sure that what sits underneath remains protected.

In the coming months the city plans on investing a large portion of its resources in making sure that it can continue development – facing a price tag north of $160 million to comply with a state mandate and move forward with enhanced levees that protect nearly the entire city from a 200-year San Joaquin River flood – but will also join a newly formed groundwater pumping alliance intended to govern the amount of water being taken from the basin that serves South San Joaquin County.

City Manager Steve Salvatore said that despite the fact that Lathrop has very few cards to play, it still needs to take a proactive role in the critical alliance – informing the city council during a goal-setting session that during the upcoming budgetary planning meetings that he’d be requesting additional staff to handle the workload associated with SB5, the levee reinforcement project, and the groundwater basin alliance.

“We’re more than likely going to have little say so – we have six straws in the ground while Manteca has 28 or 30 and Stockton, 100. They have a lot more than we do and this is a critical basin,” Salvatore said. “And it’s going to be heavily focused on. We’re one of 11 critical basins and this is one will be heavily focused on and so we have to spend some staff time getting involved in that.”

It’s all about sustainability according to City Attorney Salvador Navarrete. And new laws that were recently passed, he said, will likely put gallon limitations on pumping even if water quality concerns weren’t an issue before – noting that it’s something that the city needs to be “cognoscente about”.

And the concern about water quality and the impact of the drought on groundwater is worsening.

On Wednesday the California Department of Water Resources announced that for the first time since 1977 a temporary rock barrier would be constructed at the inlet of the San Joaquin River near Isleton intended to halt the progress of saltwater from Delta.

According to the Association of California Water Agencies, permits necessary for the project are currently being processed, and work could begin as early as May 8. The temporary dam could be in place for as long as seven months, and the construction and removal could cost as much as $30 million.