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Manteca water use drops 4.6% over May 2020
Manteca, Lathrop now in exceptional drought
This photo was taken at 2 a.m. Thursday of water run-off from the city watering grass around Lincoln Pool. When the photographer arrived at 1:50 a.m. water was past Hutchins Street on Powers Avenue. When he left after taking the photo the water was still on and it was clear runoff had been occurring into the gutter for more than the five minutes city rules allow. - photo by DENNIS WYATT

Manteca’s water conservation efforts appear to be paying off.

Manteca used 534 million gallons in May of 2013.  With a population of 71,000 eight years ago that translated into 242.6 gallons per capita each day with all residential, commercial, school, and city use — primarily in parks — tossed in.

Last month, Manteca used 496,597,000 gallons. The May population of 87,000 yielded a daily per capita water use of 184.1 gallons.

It was 4.6 percent less than in May 2020 despite Manteca having 2,100 residents. May 2020  daily per capita use was at 192.6 gallons. The 2019 per capita daily water use for May was 151.1 gallons.

As of June 1, Manteca along with Tracy, Lathrop and the rest of San Joaquin County north as well as the entire Sacramento Valley was in the worst category tracked by the United States Drought Monitor which is exceptional drought.

The rest of Northern San Joaquin Valley along with the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced rivers critical to surface water use for cities and farms in the 209 were all in extreme drought as was 74.46 percent of California.

The South San Joaquin Irrigation District has indicated if everyone they serve — farmers and the cities of Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy use water wisely — they should be able to squeak by this year. A third straight dry year, should that occur, could require harsh restrictions and possibly even rationing.

Between 60 and 70 percent of the water used in Manteca in a typical year is supplied by the SSJID.

The rest is ground water. Not only does drought impact aquifers as well as they are not being recharged, looming state regulations will soon prevent more water being withdrawn from a basin than is replenished whether it is by natural or forced recharging.

Weather has a lot to do with water use. Once temperatures exceed 90 degrees the outside use of water spikes.  Manteca officials over the years have indicated landscaping irrigation and other outside water use such as washing cars accounts for roughly half of all water use in a typical year.

Of the half attributed to outdoor use close to 80 percent was used to irrigate grass. Much of that was so-called “non-functional grass” such as front lawns planted for looks and office park grass area, or lawn along corridors such as Spreckels Avenue.

It is why the city during the last drought launched its turf conversion rebate program aimed at encouraging homeowners and businesses to switch to more drought tolerant landscaping.

Manteca’s water rules

The stricter water rules that were adopted for Manteca residents and businesses 73months 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 application plus applicable fees.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email