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Manteca cuts water use 14.1%
Outdoor watering ban on Mondays starts soon
The drought has exposed an old mine at Don Pedro Reservoir. - photo by Photo Contributed

Manteca residents have reduced year-to-year water use for the fifth consecutive month.

Water use dropped 14.1 percent in September going from 440.9 million gallons in 2013 to 379.7 million gallons this year. Residential uses account for 76 percent of Manteca’s water consumption. That translates into 143 gallons of water being used daily by each of the city’s 73,802 residents.

The per capita daily use is 24 gallons less than the Central Valley as a whole.

Manteca is ranked fourth for September in the 209 region consisting of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties. Tracy came in at first with a 27 percent reduction followed by Oakdale at 19.7 percent and Lathrop at 18.7 percent.  Ripon was fifth in the three-county region with a 12.5 percent reduction.

Only one city increased water use in the 209. Lodi saw a double digit increase.

Statewide, water use in September was down 10.3 percent. The goal is for California to cut water use by 20 percent.

California is just over a month into the 2014-15 weather year. Forecasters say models indicate rain and snow won’t be sufficient this year to break the drought’s back, noting the ground needs a good two inches of rain to eliminate the dryness so precipitation can flow unimpeded into reservoirs.

New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River was at 509,999 acre feet at midnight Monday or 21 percent of capacity. Historically the 2.4 million acre foot reservoir that holds water for the South San Joaquin Irrigation District’s farmers plus the cities of Manteca, Lathrop and Tracy should be at 37 percent of capacity on Nov. 10.

Manteca municipal leaders are gearing up for a fourth year of drought.

That outlook is shared by the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services. They are preparing for serious drought conditions in 2015 and 2016. State emergency planners are planning for a seventh year of drought expecting the dire water situation to continue until at least the end of 2017.

The first measure the Manteca City Council has put in place is tightening water use rules and make them permanent year round. 

Although the new changes are legally in place in the next few weeks Manteca residents will be given until Jan. 1, 2015 to grasp the new rules. After that, the fining will begin.

The new rules are as follows:

• Banning all outdoor watering on Mondays.

• Odd-numbered businesses and residential street addresses will be allowed to water Wednesday, Friday and Sunday but nit between noon and 6 p.m.

• Even numbered businesses and residential addresses will be allowed to water Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday but not between noon and 6 p.m.

• Water conservation measures instead of just taking place during Daylight Savings will be implemented year round. That includes no washing of non-landscaped exterior ground areas without a permit, not allowing water to flow into the gutter or a drainage area for a period exceeding five minutes, and making it unlawful or wash automobiles or boats without a positive shut-off muzzle or a bucket and sponge.

• First time violators will receive a written notice with no penalty imposed.

• Second violations will trigger a written notice and a $50 fine. The fine, though, may be waived if a violator attends a brief water conservation seminar offered by the Public Works Department. The seminar will allow violators the opportunity to gain a greater knowledge of the city’s water system as well as the importance of water conservation to the community.

• All subsequent violations will carry a penalty of $250 per occurrence.