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Who will control water wells in Manteca?
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In the coming months the Manteca City Council will need to decide how they want to go about complying with a state mandate to stabilize the use of groundwater.
That essentially means the city — as well as other groundwater users — will ultimately not be able to pump more water from underground basins than is replaced during a given time frame. The goal is to make groundwater sustainable and to avoid depleting aquifers.
That first step the council needs to take is to decide what agency — or combination thereof — they want to join or create to manage the city’s groundwater.
Whatever entity they create or cast their lot with ultimately would have the authority to tell the city to turn off municipal wells if need be as well as control private wells of farmers and residents not on city water and that are within the city limits. Such an authority would also decide whether new wells would be allowed within its jurisdiction.
If the city can’t decide by next year whether to form its own groundwater authority, join forces with other adjoining agencies or be part of one being formed by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, the state will step in and takeover all groundwater sustainability decisions.
 Public Works Director Mark Houghton outlined several possible scenarios for the Manteca City Council Tuesday night.
They could:
ujoin the San Joaquin County groundwater authority that’s being established.
ucreate Manteca’s own free-standing authority.
ujoin Ripon and Escalon and be a part of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District groundwater authority.
uteam up with Lathrop for a joint Manteca-Lathrop groundwater authority.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com