STATE: EX­PECT LESS WA­TER Man­teca wa­ter use in­creased in 2017

Ripon Bulletin - - Front Page - By DEN­NIS WY­ATT

Per capita use jumps by 7 gal­lons daily over 2016

Per capita wa­ter use in Man­teca was up by 7 gal­lons a day.

Man­teca’s wa­ter con­sump­tion was 147.1 gal­lons on a daily ba­sis per res­i­dent in 2017.

Last year’s daily per capita use is up from 134.07 gal­lons in 2016, 135.9 gal­lons in 2015, 165.3 gal­lons in 2014, and 197.13 gal­lons in 2013.

It is still be­low lev­els go­ing back a decade or more. In 2007, as an ex­am­ple, per capita wa­ter use in Man­teca was at 202 gal­lons.

The up­ward creep comes as the prospects of this win­ter end­ing up be­ing be­low nor­mal for rain­fall and snow­fall prompted the Depart­ment of Wa­ter Re­sources to warn de­liv­er­ies for the State Wa­ter Pro­ject may end up be­ing 20 per­cent of re­quested amounts.

Mon­day’s an­nounce­ment came as statewide wa­ter con­tent level in snow was at 18 per­cent of nor­mal. The Cen­tral Sierra, rel­a­tively speak­ing, is in bet­ter shape than any other re­gion in the state in terms of snow­fall. It is the com­plete op­po­site than what it was like dur­ing the drought when Mother Na­ture hit the Stanis­laus River wa­ter­shed the hard­est.

The State Wa­ter Pro­ject pro­vides drink­ing wa­ter to more than half of Cal­i­for­nia’s nearly 40 mil­lion peo­ple, as well as to farms. Al­lo­ca­tions from the wa­ter sys­tem have dropped as low as 5 per­cent in 2014, at the peak of Cal­i­for­nia’s 5-year drought.

It is the lat­est sign that Cal­i­for­nia could be slip­ping back to­ward drought mode af­ter a year of above nor­mal snow snapped the state out of five years of drought.

As of Mon­day, the snow wa­ter equiv­a­lent in the Cen­tral Sierra that in­cludes the Stanis­laus River wa­ter­shed that sup­plies ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter to South County farms and drink­ing wa­ter to the cities of Man­teca, Lathrop, and Ripon was at 35 per­cent of nor­mal for the date and 21 per­cent of what is needed for the crit­i­cal April 1 date that typ­i­cally sig­nals the end of sig­nif­i­cant snow­fall.

The 7 gal­lon per day uptick in wa­ter con­sump­tion in Man­teca comes af­ter the first full year of new homes be­ing built with manda­tory front yard de­signs that re­duce ir­ri­ga­tion needs, the largest use of treated wa­ter in the city.

Builders such as Ray­mus Homes have mod­els that of­fer front lawns with var­i­ous de­signs that meet the city min­i­mums as well as go be­yond them to fur­ther re­duce wa­ter. A survey of three builders show that most new home­own­ers want to max­i­mize al­low­able lawn that ranks as the No.1 con­sumer of wa­ter for ir­ri­ga­tion and all other pur­poses.

A storm sys­tem early this month that hit just at the right time al­lowed the South San Joaquin Ir­ri­ga­tion Dis­trict to de­lay any de­ci­sion on an early ir­ri­ga­tion run. A num­ber of grow­ers con­cerned about dry­ing soil and warm weather had in­quired about the pos­si­bil­ity of an early run.

Next rain in forecast for South County: Feb. 18

The need for an early run be­fore the ir­ri­ga­tion sea­son typ­i­cally starts in March may not have passed. The forecast cur­rently for the next rain in the Man­teca-Ripon-Lathrop area isn’t un­til at least Feb. 18. With the start of al­mond blos­som sea­son ap­proach­ing within the next four weeks the need for an early run could still arise. It all de­pends upon how dry soil be­comes, how warm it gets, and whether there are dry winds.

The mois­ture in the area the South County has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing for pe­ri­ods of time is typ­i­cally more than ad­e­quate to main­tain res­i­den­tial land­scap­ing that tends to stay mostly dor­mant into March. That, how­ever, hasn’t stopped some Man­teca res­i­dents from ir­ri­gat­ing their lawns.

Cities such as Man­teca have been given 2013 as the base year to re­duce over­all wa­ter con­sump­tion by 15 per­cent with­out taken into ac­count growth.

Based on that yard­stick, Man­teca is still ex­ceed­ing the 15 per­cent re­duc­tion goal on a per capita ba­sis. Fif­teen per­cent less per capita means to meet the goal Man­teca would have needed to go from 197.5 gal­lons per capita down to 165.53 gal­lons per capita. The city is cur­rently at 147.1 gal­lons per capita.

Over­all wa­ter use in Man­teca in­creased for the sec­ond straight year go­ing up 11 per­cent in 2017 to 4,190 mil­lion gal­lons. Wa­ter use was up 3 per­cent over­all in 2016 af­ter two back-to-back years of use fall­ing by 15 per­cent.

One of the key trends that are ar­guably strength­en­ing the city’s abil­ity to sus­tain wa­ter de­liv­er­ies is the con­tin­ued down­ward trend in us­ing ground­wa­ter.

Be­fore 2005, all of the city’s wa­ter came from wells. In 2004 Man­teca pumped over 4.7 mil­lion gal­lons from the ground. That dropped by 700,000 gal­lons in 2005 when the Nick DeG­root Sur­face Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant started op­er­a­tions.

Well wa­ter use con­tin­ued to drop in 2017 de­spite over­all wa­ter use pop­ping back up. It was down to around 1.3 mil­lion gal­lons, the low­est level of ground wa­ter use in at least 30 years.

There are a num­ber of rea­sons why it is crit­i­cal for Man­teca to re­duce ground wa­ter use. Putting in place new wa­ter wells are ex­pen­sive and can eas­ily top $2 mil­lion apiece. They also re­quire elec­tric­ity to run pumps.

At the same time the state man­date that all users do not take out more from a ground­wa­ter basin than is re­plen­ished over a des­ig­nated 12-month pe­riod will put a crunch on wa­ter use from aquifers even dur­ing non­drought years.

Man­teca’s wa­ter rules The stricter wa­ter rules that were adopted for Man­teca res­i­dents and busi­nesses 31 months are as fol­lows:

►No ir­ri­ga­tion is al­lowed dur­ing or within 48 hours fol­low­ing mea­sur­able rain­fall as de­fined by storms that gen­er­ate run-off or pud­dles.

►No wa­ter­ing is al­lowed on Mon­day or any day be­tween noon and 6 p.m. Wa­ter­ing for even ad­dresses is on Tues­day, Thurs­day, and Satur­day while odd ad­dresses can wa­ter on Wed­nes­day, Fri­day, and Sun­day.

►No wa­ter will be al­lowed on any day at any time for wash­ing off side­walks, drive­ways, pa­tios, park­ing lots or other ex­te­rior non-land­scaped ar­eas with­out a per­mit ob­tained from the Man­teca Pub­lic Works Depart­ment of­fice at the Civic Cen­ter.

►No wa­ter will be al­lowed to flow into a gut­ter or other drainage area for longer than 5 min­utes. All wa­ter leaks or mal­func­tions in plumb­ing or ir­ri­ga­tion systems must be fixed with 24 hours.

Penal­ties in­clude a writ­ten no­tice on the first vi­o­la­tion, a $100 fine with ap­pli­ca­ble fees on the sec­ond vi­o­la­tion that may be waived by at­tend­ing a wa­ter con­ser­va­tion work­shop; a $200 fine and ap­pli­ca­ble fees on the third vi­o­la­tion; and $500 fines for each and ev­ery sub­se­quent ap­pli­ca­tion plus ap­pli­ca­ble fees.

Photo con­trib­uted

Enough snow fi­nally fell to al­low Dodge Ridge Ski Re­sort off High­way 108 near Straw­berry with a base of 6,200 feet to open Satur­day for the first time this sea­son.

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