A variety of conservation measures designed to help Manteca reduce water consumption by 20 percent over 2020 levels are before the City Council when they meet today at 5 p.m.
Manteca — like all other jurisdictions in California — has been directed to reduce water use as the state struggles to deal with a deepening drought that is now in its third year.
Just released city water consumptions reports show residents and businesses used 567.003 million gallons of water last month for a 7 percent reduction over July 2020 levels. The city’s water use two years ago for July was at 598.249 million gallons.
Factoring in growth, the city’s per capita water consumption dropped more than 10 percent but that is still 50 percent short of the target called for to deal with California’s first ever Stage 2 drought emergency.
One of the two biggest changes the council is being asked to make is reducing allowed watering days to two days per week.
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.
When combined with gutter flooding time restriction of five minutes max, it will reduce the amount of water used for residential landscape irrigation by roughly a third.
Outdoor yard water use is the biggest category of water use in Manteca.
The other major change is implementing the state’s directive to ban watering of non-functional turf at all commercial, industrial, and institutional properties.
The ban does not include watering of grass used for human recreation or other community activities, watering residential grass or watering trees. The ban also does not prohibit the use of recycled water for irrigating non-functional turf.
City staff exploring ways of
giving water customers use
data to help conserve water
Manteca staff is working at implementing a system where utility customers can track their water usage by breaking it down to hourly intervals.
Changes envisioned with allow all account holders access to such information through a web-based portal or smartphone app.
They will also have the ability to set water use parameters and be notified if their water use exceeds their set point.
Such a system would be made possible by a staff effort currently underway to conduct feasibility research to upgrade current meter infrastructure and meter reading software to versions with greater analytical capability and functionality. This can lead to greater water use efficiency because staff will have access to greater analytical data that will indicate where improvements can be made.
The same software and analytics will be available to all water utility account holders.
Staff is also recommending staff take additional measures regarding water use by amending the municipal, code on top of reducing watering days and prohibiting the irrigation of commercial, individual and institutional turf in a number of cases.
Those changes include:
*Exempting 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.
*Exempting landscape irrigation exclusively using drip or micro spray systems from the scheduled watering days.
*Expanding water runoff area restrictions due to over irrigation.
*Restricting evaporative coolers without a recycled pump.
*Restricting recreational activities that require a constant flow of water.
The staff, in their presentation today, will also emphasize conservation measures in the municipal code that are already in place.
*No sprinkler water running down gutter more than 5 minutes.
*No washing non landscaped areas without a permit.
*No watering within 48 hours of a rain event.
*Repair water leaks within 48 hours
*Use a quick acting shut off nozzle to wash cars and boats.
*Restaurants can only serve water upon request.
*Hotels quests don’t need to have towels/linens laundered daily.
*Use of water from fire hydrants by permit only.
“The city must enact a robust water conservation outreach and education campaign to be successful in reaching our goal of 20% reduction in water production,” Public Works Deputy Director George Montross pointed out in a staff report.
“The efforts will include dedicated webpages on the City’s website, social media postings, local print, City sponsored and community events, meetings with community agencies and groups, media advertisements at the theatre, local radio, and television. A utility billing insert will also be sent out with the watering schedule, unlawful water use pursuant to MMC 13.04.210., and penalties for water waste.”
Manteca has been switching
to drought tolerant turf
known as kurapia in new parks
Staff in recent years has started transitioning away from high water use turf to alternatives that require less irrigation or no irrigation at all.
Some examples include the use of decomposed granite, cobblestone, boulders and artificial turf.
Areas that have been converted to these alternatives have shown a reduction of water use from 20 to 30 percent.
All plantings over the past several years have utilized drought tolerant plants such as kurapia.
Kurapia is an example of a traditional turf substitute that is extremely drought tolerant, it only needs watering a few times per month once it is established.
It has been used on sloped park basins, replacement for turf in streetscapes, and multiple other areas as replacement for high water use turf and plantings.
Montross noted in his report there are no direct budget impacts associated with actions the council may direct staff to take.
However, Montross pointed out the reduction in water consumption will reduce water fund revenue and water fund expenses.
The city’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan includes a discussion of the economic impacts of drought conditions and describes how jurisdictions may enact drought rates to address actual revenue shortfalls.
The council meets at 5 p.m. today at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org