The City Council on Tuesday learned the basics about Modesto’s water system and how the city is coping with the third straight year of dry weather.
Modesto officials are closely monitoring how much water is being used, waiting to hear from the Modesto Irrigation District on how much the district will cut its water deliveries to the city, and spreading the word about water conservation to the city’s 265,000 water users.
Here are some highlights from Tuesday’s presentation and a follow-up interview with interim Utility Planning and Projects Director Will Wong:
• Modesto gets about 40 percent of its water from MID, which gets the water from the Tuolumne River, and the rest from about 100 wells.
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• The city’s water customers use on average 59 million gallons of water per day. That’s 21.5 billion gallons in a year. But that’s about 20 percent less water than what was used in 2003. That’s when the city instituted a stage 1 drought contingency plan, which has called for such steps as banning outdoor water use from noon to 7 p.m.
• The city will ask its water users to cut their consumption by an additional 15 percent if it implements a stage 2 drought contingency plan.
• Modesto is in better shape than Stanislaus County’s eight other cities because it has two water sources: river water from MID and its wells. The other cities have only wells. The city has had MID water since 1995, which has allowed it to replenish it aquifer.
Wong said he expects MID will tell Modesto within a couple of months how much it will reduce its water deliveries. He thanked the city’s water users for saving water and asked them to continue their good work.
“Everyone has a part to play,” he said. “If we can conserve water now, it will help get us through the summer and the drought it if continues.”
More on the city’s conservation efforts and how water users can conserve is available at www.modestogov.com/pwd/water/conservation.
The city has coupons for residents to properly dispose of used tires at no cost at what are called tire amnesty events. Each coupon lets a city resident dispose of as many as nine tires at each event. Residents will have to take the tires to their trash hauler: Bertolotti Disposal or Gilton Resource Recovery.
Coupons can be picked up at the city’s Solid Waste Department, which is on the fourth floor of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St. The office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Proof of city residency is required, and the limit is one coupon per household per amnesty event.
The free tire disposal periods are: February, April (except April 20), June, August, October and December (except Dec. 25). For more information, call (209) 577-5494. The city received a grant from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery for the tire amnesty events.