Manteca’s daily per capita use of water in 2019 was down 31.8 percent compared to 2013.
That means Manteca is now exceeding the water conservation goal of 30 percent established by the state at the height of the drought. Mantecans used 195.5 gallons per capita in 2013 compared to 133.3 gallons in 2019
Figures provided by Acting Director of Public Works Koosun Kim indicate Mantecans used 4.34 billion gallons of water in 2019. That is down from 2018 when 4.44 billion gallons of water was used when there were roughly 2,000 less residents for a consumption rate of 140.6 gallons daily per capita. That translates into a 4.6 percent drop in per capita water use.
The figures underscore the success of a number of municipal initiatives:
*Reducing allowed front lawn area of new homes and encouraging the use of xeriscape.
*Rebates for existing homeowners to replace turf with more miserly landscaping.
*Buildings that require low-flow shower heads and low-flow toilets.
*The city’s rebate program for those who replace older toilets with low-flow versions.
*The city’s rebate program for those who replace washing machines with water efficient models.
*Enforcing landscape water rules by warnings and — if needed — citations.
New home builders indicated nearly 40 percent of buyers today are opting for front yards without any grass.
“Xeriscape can look nice,” noted Councilwoman Debby Moorhead who resides in a newer neighborhood in southeast Manteca where many new homes opted for xeriscape.
Moorhead believes that people — including herself — are still careful about water use even now that the last drought had faded into memory due to everyone being more aware that water is not a limitless commodity.
“(Being smart) with water use is the new norm,” Moorhead said.
Mayor Ben Cantu also praised the efforts of city residents.
“My yard is a little less green than I may want it to be but that’s fine,” Cantu said.
Both Cantu and Moorhead are highly supportive of the city’s lawn-to-garden replacement program.
The city’s website offers details on the program that is aimed at front yards and parkways of existing homes and commercial property that reimburses applicants a $1 per square foot for up to 650 square feet for a home and 5,000 square feet for commercial property. In order to qualify for reimbursement you must discuss your plans with the city’s water resources coordinator beforehand as well as submit an application.
With more than half of the city’s water use going to landscaping with grass being by far the biggest user, cutting down on lawn area is the biggest way the city has to save water as well as money. It saves money by reducing the need to drill new water wells that can exceed $2 million as well as delay a costly expansion of the surface water treatment plant.
The city also offers $100 rebates for the purchase of high efficiency washing machines and $75 for the replacement of toilets that are high efficiency dual flush models. Details specific to each program, appear ion the city’s website.
Manteca’s water rules
The stricter water rules that were adopted for Manteca residents and businesses 53 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.
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