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Water play victim of drought
Manteca turning off water after this weekend
Nathaniel Mulford frolicked last June in the Library Park water play feature. - photo by HIME ROMERO

First the good news: The water play feature at Library Park will be turned on in time for the 18th annual downtown Manteca Crossroads Street Faire.

Now the bad news: It is being turned off indefinitely before the sun sets Sunday.

It is the most high profile effort to date of a city promise to step up water conservation as California enters a third year of drought.

“We appreciate the community’s understanding, and apologize for the inconvenience,” a release from City Manager Karen McLaughlin’s office noted. “The city encourages everyone to reduce their water use wherever possible, especially during these drought conditions.”

The South San Joaquin Irrigation District has told cities it supplies water to — Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy — that their deliveries will be 80 percent of their allocation this year.

While Manteca also uses groundwater and has yet to max out its allocation it experienced record January water use.

Governor Jerry Brown is asking all Californians to reduce water use by 20 percent.

Also this week the latest Sierra survey shows the snowpack at a dismal 32 percent of normal. Nearly 60 percent of California’s water comes from the Sierra snowpack.

The State Water Project and Central Valley Water Project have both told farmers and urban users they will receive no water year. It is the first time ever no water is expected to flow from the State Water Project to a million acres of farmland and 28 million urban users.

There are also water play features in nearby communities including Lathrop, Ripon, and Stockton. It is not clear whether they also will be turned off due to the drought.

It was also not clear whether the decision will impact decorative city water fountains such as the one on the Maple Avenue plaza and one at the Stadium Retail Center along the 120 Bypass.

A mild weekend with a high of 70 degrees Saturday and an expected 78 degrees on Sunday may temper use of the water feature for the only two days it is likely to be turned on this year.