Manteca residents are taking the severe drought — that has sent reservoirs throughout California to record low levels and dropped underground water tables — seriously.
Manteca water use in June was down 37 percent despite several 100-degree plus days and a number with highs in the 90-degree range.
It marks the second consecutive month the city has exceed the mandated goal the state set for Manteca of cutting back water use 32 percent over 2013 levels in a bid to help the state weather the severe drought that is now in its fourth year.
Water use in Manteca was down 34 percent in May.
The biggest credit for the drop comes from residents, commercial concerns, schools and the city cutting back on irrigating grass as evident by lawns that are riddled with yellow and brown areas as well as homeowners that simply opted to let grass die for the duration of the drought emergency. Lawns are the biggest use of water in Manteca.
Manteca is also meeting the mandated 20 percent cutback in the use of surface water from the South San Joaquin County Water Treatment Plant.
Officials stressed the need to keep the course in terms of conserving water.
If the drought extends into a fifth year even if it is less severe — a number of stressed reservoirs could be depleted. Any savings are essential for carryover into next year.
At the same time as more people turn to groundwater, it is becoming imperative for everyone to cut back on that source so underground aquifers don’t start dropping significantly.
The lower lake and river levels are already posing serious threat to fish.
At the same time, the fire season could prove to be a major stressor for reservoirs this year. Efforts two years ago to fight the Rim Fire virtually drained two Tuolumne County reservoirs leaving Sonora and surrounding communities on the cusp of running out of water.
This fire season is expected to be even worse than last year’s.