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When it comes to the drought, Manteca City Council channels Alfred E. Newman
cartoon water

News flash.

Rain drops aren’t falling on our heads.

The snowpack was beyond anemic.

New Melones Reservoir has the mother of all bathtub rings.

The San Joaquin River seems hellbent to win the ultimate limbo contest.

Portions of the Los Angeles Basin, of all places, are weeks away from prohibiting the watering of all lawns.

California is slipping deeper into the throes of a third year of drought.

Rome isn’t burning.

But the California empire is drying out.

Hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland are going fallow.

Orchards are in peril.

Fish face a bleak future.

So, what is Manteca doing?

That is besides letting new homes be built with non-native grasses that suck up water like a Hoover vacuum cleaner.

Well, the Manteca City Council did declare a drought emergency last month.

But when it comes to actually doing something?

Why worry?

Be happy.

Cutting back watering to two days a week is for fools.

As for Manteca lets water grass at will, gutter flood and be merry through July, August, and September — the hottest and driest months of the year.

No need to cutback.

There won’t be a drought next year.


So, what if people will have to go to yellow is mellow if it is brown flush it down mode?

It’s just water.

That explains why Manteca’s leaders Tuesday acted as if there is no drought emergency.

There’s no hurry to cutback residential lawn watering from three to two days.

So, what if watering lawns composed of non-native turf is the biggest consumer of water in Manteca as well as the rest of California?

We can wait while the city takes its sweet time changing the rules.

Besides, why not keep watering grass three times a week so the city can postpone it from going brown?

We can do without the water needed to keep the grass green.

What could saving it do?

Maybe if a fourth year of drought materializes, we won’t face honest-to-goodness water rationing.

But here’s the big question: If Manteca’s city staff recommended it, and the City Council declared it, what does a drought emergency really mean?

Eighteen miles to the west as the dry wind blows they know in Mountain House.

The drought forced the State Water Project to cut them off from all water deliveries.

If it wasn’t for an emergency transfer of water from the South San Joaquin Irrigation District, they’d be filling jugs with water from tanker trucks in the community center parking lot.

That’s right. San Joaquin County’s million dollar home community would be begging for every drop of water they could get.

Yet 18 miles away city leadership in Manteca believes we are immune from such a fate.

Obviously, water experts are bluffing. The governor is bluffing. Mother Nature is bluffing.

Besides, we all know water always flows from the faucet.

There’s no real need to cutback.

We’ve got lady luck.

The skies will open next year. The snowpack will be epic.

We’re all going to win the Power Ball lottery.

There’s no urgency to comply with calls for a 20 percent cutback in water use.

It’s fake news.

The drought, that is.

Why else would the city staff that last month presented the council with a resolution declaring a drought emergency did not present an urgency ordinance on Tuesday that would go into effect immediately to cut outdoor watering back to two days?

Perhaps the city lacks the will — or is that the stomach — to actually enforce strict water rules designed to stretch a critical community resource for public health and safety reasons?

Better yet, why did not anyone on the council see the irony?

Just 30 days earlier they proclaimed a drought emergency and then on Tuesday they were taking their sweet time to do something about it.

They simply told staff what they wanted done and to come back in due time.

Based on the regular ordinance process that means Manteca won’t be under a mandate to cut lawn watering to two days a week until the start of the next water year on Oct. 1.

Its kind of funny given how folks at water agencies such as SSJID are scrambling to save every drop of water they can so when Oct. 1 rolls around they will have leftover water to carry them through next year in the likely event it is another dry year.

Oh, and by the way, the water table below Manteca has dropped 4 feet in the past year.

No worries, we are told, that’s normal.

But with reservoirs up and down the state with less than 40 percent of storage where do you think everyone is going to turn for water to drink wash clothes, cook with, shower and such.

Here’s a hint. It won’t be Crystal Geyser even through aquifer is where most commercial firms get the water they bottle.

Perhaps the council is right.

There isn’t really an urgency to effect real water use reductions.

If that’s the case, rescind the drought emergency.

Tell Sacramento to stick it.

Declare that residents can hose down sidewalks, driveways, and patios with abandon.

Let’s see how many gutters we can get steady flows going in as streams in the Sierra are reduced to an uncharacteristic trickle in mid-July or else have prematurely disappeared.

After all our water doesn’t come from the snowpack.

It a myth that 38 percent of the water we consume each year in California comes from snow melt in the Sierra and Cascades.

Nor is it critical to replenishing underground water supplies.

Maybe, just maybe, the City Council should un-cancel their regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m.

It’s meeting they cancelled so they can make the rounds glad handing at National Night Out parties.

Instead, they might want to tend to serious city business so they can legally pass an urgency ordnance that can go into effect immediately to reduce outside watering to two days a week.

Right now, channeling Alfred E. Neuman when it comes to water runs a high risk of putting Manteca in a situation next year that will be far worse than if its yellow its mellow and if its brown, flush it down.


This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at