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Manteca may sweeten lawn rebate amount
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Citizens tasked with finding ways to accelerate Manteca’s water savings wants to make things a little greener.

The Manteca City Council on Tuesday is being presented with a series of recommendations from the Water Conservation Citizens Committee.

Among them are;

uincreasing the maximum rebate for the city’s lawn-to-garden program from $500 to $650.

ubumping up the dual-flush or high-efficiency low-flow toilet rebate from $50 to $75.

umaintain the 10-member committee to continue advising the council on water use issues.

City Management Analyst Johanna Ferriera noted the committee wanted to commend Manteca residents on their commitment of conserving water that has allowed the city to meet the state-mandated 32 percent reduction in water use. And after reviewing the new state-mandated Sustainable Groundwater Management Act the citizens committee realized Manteca’s future ability to draw on ground water to meet its needs could be significantly impacted. It is why they believe the council would be wise to keep the committee in place to continue looking for ways that the city, residents, and businesses can do to become even more water efficient.

The council in April approved a six-month lawn-to-garden rebate pilot program for both residential and commercial water users.

The current residential rebate is $1 per square foot capped at $500. The committee believes increasing that to $650 would encourage people to remove more of their lawn and replace it with shrubs and trees that are more water efficient.

The city as of July 21 has received 78 residential lawn-to-garden applications that represent $32,883 in rebates. The average amount of turf between the 78 applicants that was replaced was 600 square feet each. The committee wants the increase applied retroactively. That would add $4,713 to the water cut costs.

The city attorney has determined it is legal to provide the additional rebate retroactively.

In April, the council doubled the low-flush toilet rebate from $25 to $50. The committee believes another $25 to make the rebate $75 would entice more residents to convert to the high efficiency toilets that can result in savings as much as 4 gallons per flush depending upon how old the toilet is that they are replacing. If there was an average of five flushes a day it could result in 7,300 gallons of water saved annually per toilet.

The committee also wants city staff to develop 10 educational items:

Develop an informational water conservation flyer for new water accounts.

Develop a city rebate/water conservation information package for all homeowners.

Better educate homeowner associations and groups that have multiple water accounts or multiple water stations on their property.

Enlist community group to assist with water conservation efforts.

Provide additional education to retailers and the Manteca Unified School District.

Develop a point-of-sale property disclosure with the city’s water conservation measures.

Coordinate an ongoing free water conservation/landscape class.

Educate children through various youth programs.

Develop a water conservation program for non-profit car washes.

Develop a water conservation flyer for new pool permit applications.

The council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.