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Manteca may mandate 20% reduction in use of water
water lawn
Lawns are the biggest use of water in Manteca - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

The Manteca City Council may declare a drought emergency Tuesday.

That will mean a mandatory 20 percent reduction in water use by municipal customers will go into effect.

It is part of Stage 2 of the City of Manteca Water Shortage Contingency Plan first adopted in 2015. It is designed to make sure the city can weather a drought with sufficient water supplies for public health and safety needs.

That plan includes contingencies if the drought keeps deepening. The fifth and final stage aimed at staving off running completely out of water calls for s 50 percent mandatory reduction in water use.

The move to activate the second stage of the city’s water emergency plan follows on the heels of a state mandate that went into effect June 10 prohibiting the use of using potable water for the irrigation of non-functional turf at commercial, industrial, and institutional (schools, church, government) sites.

Municipal staff will bring to the council in July modifications to the city’s existing unlawful water use ordinance to allow fines up to $500 a day under state law to be imposed on violators of the ban on the use of drinking water to keep ornamental grass at commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities green.

Since such turf irrigation consumes a lot of water plus the mandate for all users to cutback water use 20 percent will mean less revenue for the city’s water fund, staff will determine if there is a need to enact emergency drought rates to address anticipated revenue shortfalls.

The city also is discussing other  measures besides a more robust education warning and fining effort to force compliance with existing water conservation rules and new ones mandated by the state.

Among them could be doing what Ripon did last week which is reduce residential outdoor watering from three to two days  a week.

If the drought that is now well into its third year continues to deepen and further depletes available storage, the city’s water contingency plan would prohibit the watering of all ornamental grass including those on residential properties with potable water.

The existing prohibition allows residential lawns to be irrigated using potable water as well as parks, playing fields, and golf courses.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email