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Manteca’s water system loss less than ½ of average
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Manteca’s municipal water system incurs an annual water loss of 7 percent.

While that might seem high, it is more than half of the national average of 16 percent for municipal water systems.

The details on how efficient the city’s water delivery system is  was part of a snapshot look at Manteca’s water issues presented to the City Council on Wednesday.

Annual water audits and water loss control for public water systems is required by both the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the State of California.

The 7 percent loss of water that is treated and distributed by the city reflects  leakage from transmission and distribution mains, leakage and overflows from the water system’s storage tanks and leakage from service connections up to and including the meter.

The city in 2021 treated 4.8 billion gallons of water.

Of that, 2.15 billion gallons was surface water provided by the South San Joaquin irrigation District through water rights the agency holds on the Stanislaus River.

The remaining 2.65 billion gallons were pumped from groundwater sources via 15 municipal wells.

The city added surface water more than 15 years ago.

To reduce costs and also ease pressure on groundwater, Manteca typically relies 100 percent on surface water during the winter months and adds ground water pumping to the mix in the spring, summer and fall.

The city’s water system encompasses:

*More than 300 miles of pipeline.

*26,000 service connections.

*8,000 valves.

*2,000 fire hydrants.

The city is in the process of implementing tougher water conservation rules that will be brought back before the council at their Aug. 16 meeting for adoption.

Among the proposed changes are:

*Allowed outdoor watering will be reduced from three to two days a week.

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

*Run-off from irrigating turf and such will essentially be prohibited.

The current rule allows for runoff into gutters for no more than five minutes. The new rule prohibits it from going onto sidewalks — public and private — streets, driveways, or adjoining property.

*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.

*Prohibiting recreational activities that require a constant flow of water.

Staff referenced Slip ‘n’ Slides as one use that would be banned. It wasn’t clear whether that included large inflatable slides that are rented for kids’ parties that involve water flowing non-stop down the slides.

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

*Restricting evaporative coolers without a recycled pump.

The city ordinance calls for a warning on the first offense, a $50 fine on the second offense, a $100 fine on the third offense, and a $250 fine on every offense thereafter.

As part of their enforcement effort, the city has just added a hotline (209-456-8410) for citizens to call to report violations of the drought rules in addition to online reporting.

The ongoing drought is requiring Manteca reduce its water use by 20 percent — as do other jurisdictions throughout the state — to comply with the emergency order issued by the state.

If the rules don’t get the desired reduction and/or the drought continues to deepen there are two more stages that the state has in place with the most severe being the rationing of water if it comes to that.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email