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Panel mulls possible new Manteca initiatives
Water runs into the parking lot and down the drain while grass is being irrigated at East Union High. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Enforcement and rebates to save water are trumping further restrictions so far in the Manteca Citizens Committee on Water Conservation’s deliberations.

The 10-member panel was appointed by the City Council to make recommendations on how the city can further step up conservation efforts to meet the state mandated goal of a 32 percent reduction in citywide water use. The mandate was imposed as part of the statewide effort to help California weather the severe drought that is  now in its fourth year.

Last week they individually provided “yes” or “no” responses for the 56 options that they had brainstormed at a previous meeting.

Only two of the top 11 vote getters involved restrictions.

Leading the list with six votes was enlisting community groups in assisting with educational efforts, installation of low-flow showerheads, and the programming of irrigation timers.

Second with five votes was restricting homeowner watering to a certain number of minutes per station.

Educating kids in water conservation through organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, Manteca Parks & Recreation and Manteca Unified School District was next with four votes as well as developing a city rebate/water conservation information package for people either buying homes or all homeowners. Some of that information includes collecting rain water, use cooking water that would normally go down the drain, not using the garbage disposal, placing a bucket under the sink, fixing all leaks, not shaving in the shower, only run dishwasher and clothes washer when full, don’t run water while brushing your teeth, use timers for ten-age showers, and reuse bath water to flush toilets.

Seven items received three votes. They were:

Enlisting banks, corporations, and the Manteca Chamber of Commerce to distribute and help install low-flow showerheads.

Reach out to apartment complex owners and those who own multiple properties along with property management companies to educate people.

Increase the amount of moneys set aside for the lawn-to-garden rebate program.

Expand gray water use.

Further restrict the times that homeowners can water going from 6 p.m. to noon on their respective days to only between 6 pm. and 6 a.m.

Using recycles water to irrigate parks and streetscape.

Reset all city timers for municipal landscaping.

Ten other items garnered two votes each. They were:

Direct education efforts at Manteca Unified schools, hospitals, and restaurants.

Establishing an adopt-a-senior program to assist older people with setting sprinkler times, installing low-flow appliances and assist in the purchasing of low-flow appliances such as washing machines and toilets.

Encourage nurseries and landscape firms to stage free classes for drought resistant plants and yards.

Increase the rebate amount for low-flow toilets and require  them to be put in place when a home is purchased.

Restrict all new water connections due to the drought emergency.

Allow watering at night only.

Reduce watering of landscaping in new residential areas.

Further restrict allowable watering days from three a week down to two.

No new permits for swimming pools until drought is over.

Establish water consumption penalties and rewards.