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City issued 127 warnings to violators in August
This photo taken in June shows yellowed ornamental turf being watered along North Street.

At mid-afternoon Monday sprinklers were going full throttle in front of a commercial building on Yosemite Avenue with water trickling across the sidewalk and into the gutter.

It is a clear violation of at least three of Manteca’s emergency water use rules.

And it is one of the big reasons why Manteca is failing miserably when it comes to meeting the call to reduce water use by 20 percent.

Manteca in August used 534.142 million gallons of water. That’s 2.746 million — or less than 0.5 percent less than August 2021 water use that came in at 536.888 million gallons of water.

Even factoring in a population increase of 1,600 people, water use on a per capita basis dropped less than 4 percent in August 2021 to August 222 comparisons.

Making matters worse with 15 days to go in the current water year that coincides with California being in three full years of drought, virtually every weather model for the coming water year foresees La Nina conditions. That typically means dry conditions for California with below normal snow and rain.

It is against that backdrop the City of Manteca issued 127 warnings to water customers in August for noncompliance with the municipal water conservation ordinance.

The city is currently in its education phase working to give residents and businesses alike some time to adjust their watering schedule before they start issuing citations.

And those citations, once they are issued, start with a $50 fine with applicable fees on the second violation, $100  fine and applicable fees on the third violation; and $250 fines for each and every subsequent application plus applicable fees.

Getting users to adhere to a twice-a-week watering schedules with no runoff onto impermeable surfaces such as sidewalks, driveways streets and gutter is considered key to city efforts to meet a 20 percent reduction in overall municipal water use.

Just over half of the city’s water consumption is outdoors with the bulk of that going to irrigate grass that in most cases is non-functional meaning it is not used for recreational purposes.

No one — unless they have water miserly drip or micro spray systems — is allowed to irrigate landscaping in Manteca on Mondays, Thursdays, or Fridays.

Everyone else except for those businesses, industrial and institutional properties banned from irrigating period are only able to water landscaping two days a week.

Even-numbered addresses are allowed to irrigate on Tuesday and Saturday. Odd-numbered addresses are allowed to irrigate on Wednesday and Sunday. No irrigation will be allowed on Monday, Thursday, and Friday.

  Additional key changes the council made are as follows:

*Turf at commercial, industrial and institutional locations such as hospitals can no longer be irrigated with potable water except for carved out exceptions where it is used for recreation and such.

The  new rules make exceptions for the golf course, Manteca Unified schools, and other locations allowed for under the state emergency order issued June 10.

 *Exempted City of Manteca golf course and facilities, Manteca Unified School District, private parks, and other landscaped areas greater than 4 acres from the scheduled watering days.

*Exempted landscape irrigation exclusively using drip or micro spray systems from the scheduled watering days.

*Restricted evaporative coolers without a recycled pump.

*Use of running water that isn’t recirculated for Slip-n-Slides and other water play in yards is banned.

South San Joaquin Irrigation District has told the cities of Manteca, Tracy and Lathrop to curtail surface water deliveries by 20 percent. It is the same proportional cutback that farm customers are under.

The 2.4 million acre foot New Melones Reservoir — the linchpin of water storage for those that depend on the Stanislaus River watershed such as SSJID farmers, Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy — was at 26 percent of capacity or 626,431 acre feet as of Monday.

More telling, that is just 46 percent of the average storage for the date of Sept. 12. There needs to be 1,087,633 acre feet in storage — or almost half of the reservoir full currently — to reflect normal storage conditions.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email