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Manteca water use drops 20.4%
June conservation triples effort during May
Lawns throughout Manteca have gone brown as residents seek ways to cut back water use. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Brown lawns are starting to pay off for Manteca when it comes to conserving water.

Manteca residents slashed June water consumption last month by 20.4 percent compared to waste use in June 2013. That exceeds the 20 percent reduction that Gov. Jerry Brown called for in January when he declared a drought emergency.

Manteca is among a handful of cities in California that have met or exceeded Brown’s target.

It is a significant shift from the start of 2014 when Manteca set a new record for water consumption for the month of January at 245 million gallons.  It is also a big improvement over May when city water use was 8 percent lower than May of 2013.

Water consumption in May of 2012 was 534 million gallons compared to 490 million gallons this May.

Figures compiled by the Public Works Department shows Manteca’s June’s consumption was 502 million gallons. Besides being 20.4 percent less than June 2013 when Manteca residents used 631 million gallons, June is one of the three heaviest months for water consumption following July and August due to landscaping demands in hot weather.

“You can see that Manteca residents have effectively reduced water use sustainably,” noted Public Works Director Mark Houghton.

Houghton understands the consequences of the drought perhaps better than anyone at City Hall. He lives in Tuolumne County that up until a water transfer deal four months ago from South San Joaquin Irrigation District was facing the prospect of running out of water this month.

Houghton noted his lawn has long been brown and that water conservation is a big concern in his family’s household.

The biggest increases in May for water use based on a statewide survey by the California Department of Water Resources were:

• City of Santa Ana (Orange County), 64 percent.

• City of San Juan Capistrano (Orange County), 37 percent.

• City of Garden Grove (Orange County), 32 percent.

• Rancho California Water District (Riverside County), 21 percent.

• El Toro Water District (Orange County), 20 percent.

• San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, 19 percent.

• Vallecitos Water District (north of San Diego), 18 percent.

• American Water Company Los Angeles District (Los Angeles County), 17 percent.

• Water Service Company Palos Verdes (Los Angeles County), 17 percent.

• City of Pasadena (Los Angeles County), 15 percent.

The biggest decreases for water use in May were:

• City of Folsom (Sacramento County), 31 percent.

• City of Glendora (Los Angeles County), 26 percent.

• City of Gilroy (Santa Clara County), 25 percent.

• American Water Company Sacramento District (Sacramento County), 24 percent.

• City of Pleasanton (Alameda County), 23 percent.

• City of Ceres (Stanislaus County), 22 percent.

• City of Santa Rosa (Sonoma County), 22 percent.

• Sacramento Suburban Water District (Sacramento County), 21 percent.

• American Water Company Monterey District (Monterey County), 20 percent.

• City of Roseville (Placer County), 20 percent.