Manteca had 6,000 less residents in January 2011 — the last time there was normal or above average rainfall in January — and used 7.5 percent more water than city residents did last month.
But the reduction that counts under state mandates due to California possibly heading into a fifth straight year of drought is how water use stacks up to January 2013 when Manteca residents used 214 million gallons. Manteca residents used 19.5 percent less water or 172 million gallons this past January than three years prior.
The drop-off is due to the majority of homeowners not watering lawns and gardens as they did in January 2013 when temperatures were warmer and there was only a trace amount of rain.
Overall, Manteca has to reduce its annual water consumption by 32 percent. The big savings come in the hotter months when the city has been making significant inroads into reducing waster that is being used for landscape irrigation purposes.
Manteca’s savings in 2015 during California’s fourth year of severe drought came to 1.47 billion gallons. That reflects a 28.7 percent reduction over 2013 levels despite the city adding 2,200 residents to grow the population base by more than 3 percent during the last two years.
The city shut off most of its irrigation systems in December. Most of Manteca has followed the city’s advice and have ceased landscape irrigation before, during and after storms.
Gardening experts indicated lawns, plants, and trees probably won’t need water for the next week or so.
Weather forecasters expect 13 days where there may be rain in the region over the next 40 days. It has been estimated four to five average water years will be needed to wipe out the drought’s impact on water storage.
New Melones Reservoir that stores water for the South San Joaquin Irrigation District that will eventually y be used by farmers and the cities of Manteca, Lathrop and Tracy was at 417,556 acre feet on Tuesday. That’s roughly 17 percent of its 2.4 million acre foot capacity.
Rainfall and snowpack water content in the Central Sierra Nevada that includes the Stanislaus River watershed is currently at its highest level in five years.
A snow survey conducted 90 miles northeast of Sonora this month verified that.
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