Residents of Lathrop used slightly more water in 2016 than they did the year before, increasing consumption less than one percent over the previous year of the drought.
But based on 2016 water consumption, Lathrop residents are now using 22 percent less water than they were in 2013 – the year that the State Water Resources Control Board has used as a baseline to calculate mandatory water reduction for cities across the state.
And while the State of California has given no indication whether the recent record rainfall and the massive snowpack building in Northern California – where the majority of the state’s residents get their drinking and agricultural water – will end the state-mandated reductions for cities and their residents, the worst of the drought appears to be over.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor – which tracks drought conditions in every state – the “exceptional drought” designation for certain pockets of California have disappeared.
Last year at this time, as much as 40 percent of the state fell into the “exceptional drought” category, and just three months ago that number had only dropped to 21.04 percent. Last week only 2.13 percent of the state was classified as such, and that number dropped to zero with the most recent snowpack and reservoir reports.
That doesn’t mean that we’re completely out of the woods yet in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, either.
The most recent drought map released still classifies the majority of San Joaquin County as a “moderate drought” area, while the northern boundary of the county has lost its drought designation altogether – falling to “abnormally dry” for the first time in years.
The reservoirs are reaping the rewards as well. Lake Shasta – California’s largest reservoir – is currently at 80 percent capacity and 121 percent of where it is historically at this time of the year. Lake Don Pedro is 90 percent full and 132 percent of its historical level, and New Melones Reservoir – where the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and Oakdale Irrigation District have the rights to the first 600,000 acre feet of water that flow into it every year – is 41 percent full, which is 69 percent of its historical average.
Controlled releases from Melones, Don Pedro and Millerton Lake – which is 70 percent full and at 113 percent of its historical average – are now being managed to both accommodate for the heavy snowpack, and the fact that the San Joaquin River was recently recognized for being at the “Flood Monitor” stage.
Lathrop’s water conservation ordinance – which was enacted by the council to coincide with the State of California’s mandate – will remain in place until any changes are voted on by the council. Currently, addresses ending in odd numbers can water on Wednesdays and Sundays before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m. Even numbered residences can now water on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m. Watering outside during and within 48 hours of measured rainfall is prohibited, and washing of building exteriors, sidewalks and driveways – except for spills of substances that could be harmful to the environment – is also prohibited.
Additional information about the city’s water conservation ordinance visit the City of Lathrop’s website at www.ci.lathrop.ca.us.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.