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Mantecas per capita water use drops 22.2%
A number of Manteca residents have used city incentives to replace water guzzling lawns with drought tolerant landscaping. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Manteca residents on a per capita basis used 22.2 percent less water in November than they did in the same month four years prior.
“It’s impressive considering it reflects what people are really doing inside their homes as there is limited irrigation this time of year,” noted Public Works Director Mark Houghton.  “That’s a pretty strong indicator that Manteca residents continue to be serious about water conservation.”
Manteca used 260 million gallons of water last month compared to 312 million gallons in November of 2013. Houghton noted based on the city’s 2.5 percent growth rate it would have been expected that last month’s water use would have hit 345 million gallons before residents stepped up water conservation efforts.
According to the state Department of Finance, Manteca had 71,164 residents at the start of 2013 and 76,247 residents at the start of this year. That means the per capita water consumption was 146 gallons per day in November of 2013 or 22.2 percent higher than the 113.6 gallons per capita daily use recorded last month.
Water conservation has been declared the new norm by Manteca and state leaders.
New state mandates require all users of groundwater in specific basins to develop a net zero policy meaning in a given year they cannot pump out more water than an aquifer takes in.
uManteca — as well as other cities that rely on water from the Stanislaus, Merced, and Tuolumne watersheds — could be hit hard if the state succeeds  in commandeering 360,000 acre feet between February and June each year to improve fish flows. It could, in a normal water year, reduce Manteca’s surface water supply by at least 20 percent.
There has finally been the realization after the fourth major drought since 1976-77, that climatologists are likely correct that the period between 1850 and 1975 in California in terms of snow and rain was probably an aberration meaning the state is more susceptible to drought that most people have believed.
Manteca, for those reasons and more, is still actively enforcing its water conservation rules that restrict when people can water as well as how they can use water outdoors.
Manteca’s water rules
The stricter water rules that were adopted for Manteca residents and businesses 28 months ago are as follows:
No irrigation is allowed during or within 48 hours following measurable rainfall as defined by storms that generate run-off or puddles.
No 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.
No 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.
No 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 violation plus applicable fees.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email