The message is clear.
California jurisdictions need to reduce water use by 20 percent as the state heads into a fourth year of drought.
If not, state officials may start imposing draconian measures including water rationing on per capita use as is currently happening in a handful of hard-hit areas in California.
The message, though, is not registering with Manteca as a whole.
Water use in September shot up 1.4 percent over September 2021 levels.
Assuming the city added 1,700 residents since last year and is now at 87,700 people, the per capita water use performance isn’t much better.
Accounting for growth, the per capita use from September to September dropped 0.06 percent per resident. Water use prorated over 86,000 residents came to 182.3 gallons in September 2021. It dropped slightly to 181.3 gallons when prorated over 87,700 residents in September 2022.
The city, in operating its mixed ground water/surface water system, did cutback as requested on water from the South County treatment plant that draws on South San Joaquin Irrigation District supplies gleaned from the Stanislaus River water basin.
But even that wasn’t anywhere near the 20 percent reduction target. The city used 273 million gallons of surface water last month compared to 287 million gallons in September of 2021. That is a 5.1 percent reduction, a fourth of what is needed.
Meanwhile, ground pumping was up 8 percent
Overall water use was at 477.102 million gallons last month. It was 470.355 million gallons in September 2021.
Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop — based on local rainfall— are part of the hardest region in California when it comes to drought.
The United States Department of Agriculture drought monitor has all of the San Joaquin Valley with the exception of Stockton north plus the surrounding foothills and much of the western Sierra slope in exceptional drought — the worst possible category.
The rest of the county, all of the Sacramento Valley and the Cascades are in extreme drought. The Coastal Mountains and the rest of the Sierra is in severe drought.
Only a small area of California north of the border with Mexico near San Diego is simply in moderate drought.
Thee is not one area in California that is not under drought conditions.
Summer 2022 ranked among the Top 10 warmest on record for many locations across the interior of Northern California
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