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Lathrop seeks water use cuts from schools
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The City of Lathrop is putting the pressure on non-residential water customers to curtail their usage by 25 percent. 

According to an urgency ordinance passed by the Lathrop City Council on Monday, all industrial customers, schools, golf courses, parks and cemeteries – either public or private – need to submit a copy of a water conservation plan and watering schedule that meets or exceeds the 25 percent threshold within 30 days of the beginning of mandatory restrictions. 

The move – which was made to ensure that Lathrop was in-line with escalating State conservation mandates – calls for a continuation of the existing water reduction schedule and after a reworking of language, implementing the next phase. 

Currently Lathrop has reduced overall water usage by 14 percent – shy of the State of California’s 20 percent mandatory reduction – and hopes that the next phase of implementation will achieve the mandated goal. 

Newly designated conservation measures include:

• Prohibiting restaurants from serving water except to customers that request it specifically. All restaurants are also expected to post a notice outlining the severity of California’s drought and the water restrictions that have been put in place. 

• All hotels, motels and lodges are required to notify customers of the option not to have their linens and towels cleaned after each use. Drought information must also be posted in each room, similar to the order enacted for restaurants. 

• Outlawing the washing of building exteriors, driveways and sidewalks except in the case of a spill of a hazardous material that may impact public health. The use of a single bucket to remove a stain or spill is not affected by the new designation. 

• Homeowners are forbidden from watering within 48 hours of any measurable rainfall, and watering on days that are not specified within the city’s ordinance is prohibited. The use of potable water outside of newly constructed homes and buildings not in accordance with emergency regulations or other requirements established by the Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development is also prohibited. 

Staff suggested the removal of language that would have made it illegal to fill private swimming pools not designated for public use anywhere in the city, and required that all pools and spas have a cover to retard water loss. 

A section of the ordinance that would have made it illegal to use potable water for dust prevention in new construction areas was suspended because of the implications that excessive dust would have to on existing San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Standards. It is possible, according to the staff report, that limiting water usage on new construction areas could have driven up the cost of construction and limited overall activity in order to be in compliance with the SJVAPCD standards. 

Over the course of the last year Lathrop has saved 179 million gallons of water as compared to the previous year – an amount that works out to about 81 gallons per residential dwelling per day. 

Violators would be notified initially with a door hanger and then a written notice. The third instance would include fines up to but not exceeding $500.

The measure, because it included urgency ordinance factions, required a four-fifths vote to pass and was approved unanimously, with councilman Omar Ornelas absent. 


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.