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Lathrop may make water conservation rules permanent
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The City of Lathrop was diligent in taking steps to meet the State of California’s mandated water reductions when the state’s most recent drought hit its peak last year.

And now that it’s been declared all but over in most parts of the state, will certain elements of that conservation effort become a permanent part of the city’s fight to maintain a constant supply of fresh, clean drinking water?

That’ll be up to the Lathrop City Council when they meet tonight to tackle items that they weren’t able to get to during a marathon meeting earlier this month. 

As part of the city’s effort to update the existing Urban Water Management Plan, certain conservation elements that were adopted during the drought will be considered for permanent adoption within the city’s municipal code – which solidifies the city’s position heading into an unknown winter rain season. 

As part of a state mandate the city adopted urgency ordinances in August of 2014 and June of 2015 to comply with reduction mandates aimed at easing the rapid depletion of Northern California’s most precious resource. Reservoirs throughout the north state hit near historic lows during the drought, and while one particularly wet winter filled most of them back up, the ongoing uncertainty around that regeneration – there have been twice as many extended dry periods on the Stanislaus River watershed in the last few decades than the previous seven before them – has prompted cities like Lathrop to take a closer look at what can be done to ensure that the taps stay running. 

And that extends beyond making sure that reservoirs remain full. 

While the city does have an allotment of surface water from the South San Joaquin Irrigation District, it currently gets the lion’s share of its domestic water supply from wells scattered throughout the city – prompting city officials to become active participants in a consortium of local municipalities who are facing the possibility of critically overdrafting underground water basins. 

If approved by the council, wasteful water practices – as designated by the state to include hosing down sidewalks or irrigating certain landscape medians – would be permanently against the city’s municipal code moving forward. The proposal would also implement a four-stage process to conserving water in the event that the city finds itself in the middle of another drought. 

While Governor Jerry Brown amended some of the mandatory reductions – including the percentage that communities across the state were expected to conserve – some of those efforts are being considered for permanent adoption at the state level. Lathrop still participates in providing monthly water usage statistics to the California Water Resources Control Board. 

The public hearing on adopting the permanent restrictions and the four-stage implementation of additional conservation measures will be considered separately on Oct. 2 from the certification of the Urban Water Management Plan, which also include a public hearing. 

Those public hearings have been continued and formally noticed on the city’s website. The Lathrop City Council traditionally meets on the first and third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at Lathrop City Hall – located at 390 Towne Centre Drive. For additional information, or to view the staff reports for the public hearings themselves, visit the City of Lathrop’s website at 


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.