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Manteca conservation slips
Water use down only 10.4% during July
A third year of drought is sending the San Joaquin River lower and exposing sand bars. This photo of the river was taken Thursday south of Manteca. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Manteca’s water conservation efforts slid backwards in July.

Overall, the city’s 72,000 residents and more than 1,000 business concerns used 557.395 million gallons of water in July. That’s down 10.4 percent from July 2013 when Manteca used 610.777 million gallons.

The July water use report from the City of Manteca Public Works Department contrasts with June when the city reduced water use by 20.4 percent. Manteca went from 631 million in June 2013 to 502 million gallons in June 2014. Water use dropped in May by 8 percent going from 534 million gallons in May 2013 down to 490 million gallons in May 2014.

Gov. Jerry Brown called for urban users to reduce water consumption by 20 percent when he declared a state of emergency when California started its third consecutive drought year in January.

There were roughly the same temperatures in Manteca this July compared to the same month in 2013. Last month there were eight days over 100 degrees with the highest being 105 degrees. There were 15 days of 90 to 100 degree weather and eight days when it was below 90 degrees. July of 2013 saw five days of 100 degree plus heat with the hottest day coming in at 107 degrees. There were 20 days with a high of 90 to 100 degrees and six days under 90 degrees.

Water experts have warned if rainfall and snow pack is normal or above normal this coming wet season that the drought will still persist and get slightly worse. But if there is a fourth dry year, many regions in the state will start experiencing acute water shortages.

South San Joaquin Irrigation District General Manager Jeff Shields has noted unless there is an above normal year coming up for precipitation, significant cutbacks would take place to water deliveries to both urban and water users. The SSJID provides treated water for Manteca, Lathrop and Tracy as well as farm water for more than 72,000 acres.

He has repeatedly cautioned farmers and urban dwellers alike not to waste water and to cut back this year in the event the drought continues next year.

“Once you use the water you can’t get it back,” he told the Manteca City Council earlier this year in a presentation about the severity of the drought.

Manteca’s water conservation effort has been much more effective though than many of its neighboring cities. Ripon, as an example, reduced water use by 7 percent in June compared to 20.4 percent for Manteca.

Manteca’s June reduction occurred even with 1,000 plus more residents than in June 2013 and having to use 4 million gallons for state mandated testing of the new water tank on Atherton Drive. That water was dumped directly into the storm drain system during the testing.