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Less water use = cleaner air
Manteca aims for 20% cut in water consumption
It takes electricity to pump and treat domestic water supplies. Shown are state-of-the-art filters at the South County Surface Water Treatment Plant. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Every time you turn on the faucet you are generating greenhouse gases.

It is why those who crafted Assembly Bill 32 - the Global Warming Solutions Act adopted in 2006 - want you to reduce your water use by 20 percent.

Reducing water use is among the many elements included in the draft climate action plan that is being reviewed during a workshop at Tuesday’s Manteca Planning Commission meeting. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

Behind vehicle exhausts, water use is on of the biggest cause of carbon dioxide in the San Joaquin Valley.

It is that premise by air quality gurus that prompted Manteca to include a 20 percent reduction in water use as a way to meet the city’s state mandated goal of cutting overall greenhouse gas production from private and public sources within the city limits by 12,014 metric tons by 2020. That goal also takes into account city growth.

The reduction in pollution is tied directly to city wells that pump water from underground aquifers as well as other power needed for the water treatment process at both the well heads and the water Manteca receives from the South County Surface Water Treatment Plant. That surface water plant already is powered mostly by a massive solar farm next door on Dodds Road near Woodward Reservoir.

The city already has a number of the state suggested water conservation  programs in place such as requiring low-flow shower heads and low flush toilets in new construction. They have even distributed free water conservation kits that include low flow shower heads for older homes. And each year the city sets aside money for rebates for people who replace inefficient toilets and washing machines with qualified low use versions.

The only way to clamp down further on use is by voluntary compliance or possibly forcing rules such as requiring that new landscaping may have to be drought tolerant.

The city’s administrative draft for the state mandated climate action plan delineating on how Manteca is going to cut greenhouse gas by 2020 includes using treated wastewater to irrigate public parks and landscaping.

Water conservation and greenhouse gas reduction, though, don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

The city has been slowly adding shallow wells at various city parks for irrigation. They tap into non-potable water and avoid using more expensive treated water to irrigate grass.

The water the wells tap into percolates naturally from nearby yards and other sources.

However, it still takes power to operate the wells even though there is not a treatment component.

Manteca as an entire community generated 408,869 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2010. Based on growth projections and current usage, Manteca will generate 548,437 metric tons of emissions in 2020. State regulations being implemented on everything from how car engines are built to blanket air quality standards and water use regulations is expected to whittle that number down to 441,668 metric tons in 2020. Manteca’s community target as assigned by the state, though, is 429,693 metric tons of emissions.

That means Manteca has to come up with city driven ways to reduce projected emissions by another 12,014 metrics tons a year.