Manteca’s stepped up water conservation rules aren’t going to be relaxed any time soon.
Three of Manteca’s council members — Mayor Steve DeBrum and councilmen Richard Silverman and Vince Hernandez — voiced their commitment to keeping the new rules in place during a presentation on the update of the city’s state-mandated water management plan.
The city has already met a pre-drought mandate set by the state to reduce per capita water consumption to 179 gallons by 2020. Water use in 2015 was 139 gallons per capita, down from an average of 223 gallons per capita between 1996 and 2005.
The consumption of water had dropped initially due to the impacts of the installation of high efficiency toilets as well as washing machines. Both uses along with bathing and showering and the biggest inside uses of water in Manteca.
But what really accelerated the drop in water was state mandates to reduce consumption due to the ongoing five-year drought.
Manteca last year met the goal of reducing water 28 percent over 2013 levels despite adding more than 3,000 residents.
In August with the state relaxing rules a bit, Manteca residents used 18 percent less water than in August of 2013 but 14 percent more than in August of 2015.
In responding to a council inquiry, Public Works Director Mark Houghton noted residents have done a solid job and “people have learned how to keep their lawns green” with the city imposed restrictions. Houghton had previously indicated landscape irrigation accounts for about half of the city’s overall water use.
Conserving is also paying dividends financially for Manteca residents. Reduced water use during the first eight months of this year kept $1.8 million in the pockets of Manteca residents and business. That is based on roughly a 28 percent water savings over the water consumption level for the same January through August period of 2013.
“We have to use and manage our water supply with integrity,” Mayor DeBrum said.
DeBrum said it was absolutely essential that the city and its residents be “good stewards of this most precious resource.”
To that extent, DeBrum said he’d like to make more appointments to the council’s citizens’ water conservation advisory committee given vacancies have been created by people resigning.
DeBrum would like to see more long range strategies put in place to sharpen Manteca’s water conservation efforts.
The stricter water rules that have been in place for Manteca residents and businesses for almost a year are as follows:
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.
uNo 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.
Penalties include a written notice on the first violation, 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.
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