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Lathrop residents cut water use by almost 10 percent in July
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Despite almost half of the month of July reaching temperatures above 100 degrees, Lathrop residents still managed to curtail water usage over the same month in 2013 by almost 10 percent.
According to figures that were submitted to the California Water Resources Control Board, the City of Lathrop used 170.14 million gallons of water in July, compared to 187.37 million gallons during the same month of the calendar year being used to establish a baseline for state-mandated water conservation efforts.
While the water reduction was well below the specified 25 percent that the State of California has asked local cities to reach in order to protect the state’s volatile water supply, the weather may have played a major part in that.
According to Accuweather, Lathrop had 14 days in July where the temperature eclipsed the century mark, and additional 14 days where the temperature registered at or above 95 degrees. Of the three days that didn’t register, only one – the first day of the month – was below 90 degrees.
And unlike last year, California’s reservoirs – particularly those that affect the Northern San Joaquin Valley – are in a much different position now than they were at the same time a year ago.
According to the California Data Exchange Center of the California Department of the Water Resources, New Melones Reservoir is currently holding 2,090,060 acre feet of water – with a capacity of 2.4 million acre feet – while Don Pedro Reservoir is holding 1,922,166 million acre feet with a capacity of 2.03 million acre feet of water. Last summer New Melones had reached historic lows that exposed sections of the lake not seen in decades. The summer of 2015, the year prior, the late was expected to drop to as low as 250,000 acre-feet – less than one-eighth of the amount of water that the reservoir currently holds.
And earlier this year, Don Pedro was forced to use its emergency spillway for the first time in 20 years after heavy rains created a situation in which water flowing into the lake far surpassed the ability of water managers to control flows to balance it out. The releases renewed flood concerns along the San Joaquin River in South Manteca and Lathrop, and a levee did breach that could have threatened as many as 500 homes had it not been for quick-thinking farmers who were able to cave the breach back in and stop the flow of water before crews could work to repair the damage.
While Lathrop didn’t reach the 25 percent reduction level, the State of California relaxed those requirements and is now only requiring cities to report their water conservation numbers to DWR. The city is currently monitoring progress on the Stable Groundwater Management Act that is seeking to install uniform guidelines to protect underground reservoirs that cities throughout the valley – including Lathrop – rely on almost exclusively to provide waters to their residents. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.