Manteca residents and businesses exceeded state-mandated water consumption cutback goals by 22 percent in April.
Water use was down 33 percent to 287.5 million gallons last month compared to 432 million gallons in April 2013. Manteca has been directed by Sacramento to reduce water use by 27 percent as its fair share of helping California weather the current drought.
The one-third drop in water use came despite the city growing by almost 4,000 residents in three years expanding its population base by 5.4 percent. The citywide effort represents the second lowest use for April in the past 13 years. The only year that was lower was 2010.
“Manteca is doing outstanding in water conservation,” noted Public Works Director Mark Houghton.
City officials noted most residents are paying attention taking care not to flood gutters as well as curtailing water when there is rain. On Thursday, as example, most people refrained form watering lawns under grey skies that eventually brought some light rain in the, late afternoon.
The Stanislaus River watershed that Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy all rely on for a large percentage of their drinking water and that surrounding farmers depend upon for their crops is the lowest in the state at 26 percent capacity. Shasta Lake that has a capacity of some 2 million more acre feet than New Melones at 2.4 million acre feet is at 93 percent of capacity.
The South San Joaquin Irrigation District — thanks to its superior water rights secured over a century ago and aggressive conservation efforts — has adequate water to meet the needs of farmers and cities this year if conversation efforts continue.
Stricter water rules
for Manteca in place
Stricter water rules are now in place for Manteca residents and businesses.
And failure to comply could cost you as much as $500.
uNo 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.
uNo 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.
uNo irrigation is allowed during or within 48 hours following measurable rainfall as defined by storms that generate run-off or puddles.
New penalties that went into effect April 14 include a written notice on the first violation, s 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 application plus applicable fees.
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.
There are also other pressures on the water supplies besides the drought.
Over drafting of valley aquifers prompted the state to put in place requirements that groundwater basins be managed to the point that no more water is taken from the ground than is put back into it. Given Manteca relies on ground water as well as surface water from the Stanislaus River watershed the new directive will impact the city.
There are also ongoing efforts to commandeer water on the Stanislaus River and nearby rivers for use for increased fish flows.
City officials have warned “water conservation is going to be a way of life from here on out.”