Manteca municipal water losses are below 10 percent.
Such losses — primarily leakage from aging transmission lines and service pipes prior to reaching customers’ meters — sounds high.
But it is significantly below the national average of 16 percent as reported by the Water Quality and Heath Council.
Data in the city’s updated water plan the City Council adopted several months ago has water loss information from 2016 to 2020.
The city used 11,536 acre feet of water in 2016 but lost 1,159 acre feet or 10 percent of all water it treated.
In the next three years water losses plunged.
It dropped down to 455 acre feet in 2019 while overall water production rose to 13,285 acre feet.
The most recent year for water loss — 2019 — showed it has jumped back to 1,073 acre feet.
And while the master plan the city paid close to $1 million for doesn’t list the water consumption in 2020, if it matched the previous year the water loss would have been below 8 percent.
At the beginning of 2022, there were 289 miles of water pipeline in Manteca. That amount of pipeline — if placed end-to end — would stretch from Manteca to the edge of the San Fernando Valley just north of the Six Flags amusement park in Valencia.
There are steel main pipelines in Manteca that are more than 70 years old.
While emergency repairs in past years have had to be done on smaller water pipelines they are not as problematic as sewer lines.
Both water and sewer lines can deteriorate from age, forces of pressure being beneath streets, and such. But what flows through the sewer lines can literally eat into pipe causing it to fail as the years unfold.
That’s what happened in 2018 when nearly a mile long segment of sewer pipe under Union Road was found to be near collapse after a section failed near the intersection with Alameda Street.
Shortly after those repairs were made, technology using cameras to inspect pipelines found similar weaknesses on the Louise Avenue pipeline between Union Road and Main Street.
In both cases the city opted to temporarily bypass the sewer lines with above ground pipe while inserting new lining inside existing pipe.
It was considered the most cost effective way to squeeze out another 50 years or so of use.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com