By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Most egregious offenders could face $500 fines if they fail to comply to repeated city notices
water waste
Wasted water runs down a gutter on Powers Avenue in the early morning hours due to misdirected sprinklers and excessive water runoff.

Manteca is stepping up its water conservation efforts as California enters its third year of drought.

A water conservation worker — whose primary duty would be to drive the city looking for water use violations and issue warnings in a bid to secure compliance — is expected to start on May 1.

That will augment efforts of the water division staff that places door hangers listing the city’s watering rules whenever they come across wasteful water usage.

The filling of the water conservation position comes as the city’s water use is headed in the wrong direction.

Manteca’s water use when adjusted for roughly an additional 4,000 residents was up 14.6 percent in March compared to March 2020. Gov. Gavin Newsom had asked for a voluntary effort to reduce water usage by 15 percent using 2020 as the base year. Instead, cities are typically reporting a 6 percent cutback with some, such as Manteca, actually increasing water use.

The mailing of municipal utility bills in May will include a flyer outlining conservation rules. Staff is also working on other ways to educate the public

During the last drought, the most effective way to get people to comply with saving water was the use of the water conservation enforcement position.

In the depth of that drought in 2015, the city issued 595 noticed in the last three months of that year.

Of those 504 were first time violators that received a written notice. Another 86 second time violators that earned a second warning notice and a $50 penalty that they could have waived by attending a water conservation seminar.

Five were third time violators that were slapped with $250 penalties.

The primary violations were watering on the wrong day, watering on Monday, watering between noon and 6 p.m., water flowing into the gutter for more than 5 minutes and washing sidewalks and driveways.

 Back in 2015 Manteca staff spent an average of 40 hours per week on enforcement. It included an average of six enforcement patrols per week. The city spent an average of three hours a week responding to water waste complaints made by residents either via phone, the government’s outreach program in the city’s website or by email.

The city also required all construction crews to use recycled wastewater that they can tap in for free for dust control. They trained 98 drivers on how to access reclaimed water from purple fire hydrants at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

As a result, in 2015 2.55 million gallons of water were provided to contractors. Based on last month’ use that represented about using 8 percent of a typical month’s water usage in Manteca for the purpose of new home construction dust control.

So far this year the city has issued 10 warnings. Staff reports that all who have been issued warnings have compiled.

Without a dedicated water conservation position in 2020, the city issued 40 violation notices.

The stricter water rules that were adopted for Manteca residents and businesses 79 months ago and are still in effect 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; $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