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All of San Joaquin County now in extreme drought
lake mendocino
Photo courtesy Department of Water Resources Lake Mendocino is shown in April of this year.

Manteca reduced water consumption 4.9 percent last month compared to June 2020.

The drop came despite Manteca adding 2,519 residents over the past 12 months.

The need to conserve water in what is now  a second year of drought is underscored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Drought Monitor placing 85.44 percent of the state — including all of San Joaquin and Stanislaus County — in extreme drought. The Stanislaus watershed in the Sierra — that supplies water to farms in the South San Joaquin Irrigation District as well as part of the drinking water used by Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy — is also in extreme drought.

If current conditions persist Manteca, Lathrop and Ripon — as well as the Stanislaus water basin — will slip into exceptional drought, the worst drought designation.

Already 33.32 percent of the state is in exceptional drought including the entire Sacramento Valley, the North Bay, and most of the eastern Sierra that includes the Merced and Tuolumne watersheds that supply the rest of the Northern SanJoaquin Valley with irrigation water.

The 2.4 million acre foot New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River that last month provided half of Manteca’s domestic water and all SSJID irrigation water is at 50 percent capacity. For July 5, It was at 78 percent of average for that date.

And while the critical date average is higher in New Melones than Shasta at 47 percent — the Central Valley Project’s 4.5 million acre capacity reservoir — and Folsom at 35 percent capacity, it is being drawn down faster than normal for dry year conditions. That’s due to the storage condition at Shasta and Folsom in a bid to prop up the Delta against saltwater intrusion.

There was 2,723 cubic feet of water per second — the equivalent volume of 2,723 basketballs — flowing out of New Melones on Monday while 251 cubic feet of water per second was flowing into the reservoir.

Salt water intrusion can prove devastating in the long run to ecological systems as well as farming and domestic water supplies.

The state has already started constructing a temporary emergency rock drought barrier on the West False River in the Delta.  The barrier will help slow the movement of saltwater into the central Delta and prevent contamination of water supplies for Delta agriculture and municipal supplies for millions of Californians.

Careful use of water

critical going forward

SSJID officials have made it clear that if everyone uses water wisely — from farmers to urban users — that the district should be able to meet basic needs without imposing draconian cutbacks.

However, if the drought extends into a third year in 2022 it likely will be an entirely different story.

The year already is shaping up as the third driest on the Stanislaus River basin since records started being kept of precipitation, snowmelt, and runoff 120 years ago.

Since the SSJID made its assessment of water supplies and needs, the National Weather Service has predicted this summer will be hotter and drier than summers during previous droughts.

On Tuesday the Sacramento office of the National Weather Service provided an overview of the current water year that started in October through May.

*This is the sixth driest year on record for the Stockton-Manteca area with only 7.88 inches of rain between Oct. 1 and May 31.

*Overall precipitation through Northern California as well as the northern Southern Sierra and the Northern San Joaquin Valley is running between 40 and 60 percent of normal.

*It was the third driest April on record in Stockton-Manteca with only 0.04 inches. The driest was in 1949.

*It was the driest April on record for downtown Sacramento and Modesto with no rain. Sacramento also had rain in April of 1857, 1909, and 1949. Modesto had Aprils with no rain in 1910, 1949, and 2008.

*The Sierra snowpack water content usually peaks around April 1. This year is peaked in early March. The result was a snowpack 59 percent of normal.

*It was one of the hottest Mays on record with the high reaching 109 degrees in Redding and 104 degrees in Manteca.


Back to 100 plus in

Manteca on Thursday

After a high of 91 today, Manteca will return to triple digits on Thursday when the temperature will peak at 101 degrees.

The National Weather Service is calling for four straight days of 100 degree plus before slipping to a high of 99 degrees on Monday.

Friday and Sunday are expected to be the hottest two days at 107 degrees sandwiching Sunday at 106 degrees. The low of 70 degrees predicted for Sunday will be three degrees cooler than the high of 73 day expected in San Francisco on Sunday.

A slight shift in weather patterns means Yosemite Valley may only have one day of rare triple digit temperatures — 101 degrees on Sunday.

Sonora will still be the hot spot at 111 degrees on both Friday and Saturday and 113 degrees on Sunday. The low on Saturday is expected to only drop to 77 degrees.


Manteca’s water rules

The stricter water rules that were adopted for Manteca residents and businesses 72 months ago are as follows:

*No irrigation is allowed during or within 48 hours following measurable rainfall as defined by storms that generate run-off or puddles.

*No watering is allowed on Monday or any day between noon and 6 p.m. Watering for even addresses is on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday while odd addresses can water on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

*No water will be allowed on any day at any time for washing off sidewalks, driveways, patios, parking lots or other exterior non-landscaped areas without a permit obtained from the Manteca Public Works Department office at the Civic Center.

*No water will be allowed to flow into a gutter or other drainage area for longer than 5 minutes. All water leaks or malfunctions in plumbing or irrigation systems must be fixed with 24 hours.

Penalties include a written notice on the first violation, a $100 fine with applicable fees on the second violation that may be waived by attending a water conservation workshop; a $200 fine and applicable fees on the third violation; and $500 fines for each and every subsequent violation plus applicable fees.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email