A wetter-than-normal March did not prevent Manteca’s water use from jumping 10 percent over March 2017 levels.
The numbers are even worse when the first quarter of 2018 is taken into account as water use was up 24 percent compared to January, February, and March of 2017.
Manteca’s water use numbers come on the heels of the Department of Water Resources’ most crucial snow measurement of the year taken on April 1 that marked the official end of California’s rainy season for water delivery planning purposes. It showed the state’s snowpack at 52 percent of normal.
That means much of California will be relying on water saved in reservoirs from the near-record 2016-2017 winter that ended the state’s 25 percent conservation order for cities that was in place for four years.
The 52 percent of average snowpack — while significantly better than on March 1 — indicates the state may be slipping back into drought conditions. The United States Department of Agriculture Drought Monitor shows 40 percent of California is currently in drought conditions. That’s down from 48 percent in mid-March before a series of storms hit the state.
Of that 40 percent, 28.18 percent is experiencing moderate drought primarily in the southern San Joaquin Valley and high desert, 10.22 percent in severe drought along the coast in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Orange counties and 2.5 percent in extreme drought near the southeast corner of the state.
San Joaquin County is among the 36.11 percent of the state that is considered abnormally dry.
Manteca’s water use in the first quarter of 2013 — the benchmark year the state uses for targeted water reductions — was at 810 million gallons. It dropped 17 percent for the same period in 2014 and fell steadily each year until it reached 545 million gallons in 2017. It then jumped 24 percent to 678 million gallons in January, February and march of this year.
Manteca’s water rules
The stricter water rules that were adopted for Manteca residents and businesses 34 months are as follows:
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.
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.
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.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com