By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Water waste war
Manteca Council considering options Tuesday
Placeholder Image

With California facing the possibility of a fourth severe drought year and water use in general becoming an increasing concern as the state grows and court mandates for environmental uses further restrict supplies, the Manteca City Council on Tuesday will explore additional measures to further reduce municipal water consumption. 

Public Works Director Mark Houghton has outlined 10 general areas for the City Council to consider in a bid to cutback water use.

Staff is looking for council direction on which options to explore further. Once they get clear direction, Houghton said staff will move “expeditiously” to bring selected back programs for final approval from the council for implementation. 

Houghton will outline the following potential water savings strategies at Tuesday’s meeting:

• Education and billing information. That could include giving residents a year-to-year comparison of their household water use on monthly bills. Currently they are just given 12 months use and are unable to compare the month they are being billed for with the same month in the previous year. Water use fluctuates in households depending upon the month due to weather and the season.

• Further landscape irrigation restrictions in terms of reducing days and hours. Currently Manteca allows watering three days a week while many cities such as Lathrop have moved to allowing only two day a week.

• Providing rebates to residents for irrigation efficiency and landscape modification similar to the “Cash for Grass” programs other cities offer.

• Changing out turf at various city facilities for landscaping that uses less water.

• Rebates for more-efficient plumbing or fixtures.

• Targeted education, incentives, and penalties employing things such as “water rationing” with increased costs or penalties for higher usage.

• Utilization of reclaimed water in selected areas.

• Enhanced enforcement of existing water conservation rules.

• Real-time meter upgrades.

• Graywater recovery for residential bath, shower and washing machine water for use in the irrigation of landscaping.

The programs would be paid for out of the water enterprise fund and not the general fund. The enterprise fund is financed through water user rates.

The state has directed cities and urban water districts to reduce water use by 20 percent as part of the statewide drought emergency. Tracy reduced their year-to-year water use by 22 percent in August while Manteca lowered their overall water use by 11 percent last month.