Things are indeed greener on River Islands at Lathrop.
Even with the drought deepening things are staying green and
alive in the planned community of 11,000 homes thanks to arguably the
“greenest” water system in the Northern San Joaquin Valley if not all of
Not a drop of potable water is being used to irrigate 70,000
plus trees and shrubs already in place in common areas as well as front yards
and park grassland.
River Islands is the first valley community to make it possible
to eschew using potable drinking water to irrigate landscaping thanks to
tapping into the high water table, river water, and recycled wastewater.
And as an end result, the engineered water system means will
use a third of the water that was pumped from the San Joaquin River when the
4,800 acre Stewart Tract was entirely farmed. Typically in California
urbanization of an acre of farmland sees no net change in water consumption.
It also helps that expansive front yards as well as big back
yards won’t be found at River Islands such as those that continue to pop up in
new Manteca developments. River Islands makes up for that with walkable
corridors, more parks, and what will arguably be the biggest city “park” ever
conceived in San Joaquin County — the 300-foot
wide, 18-mile linear park that encircles the community atop super levees.
The planned community’s ability to drastically reduce per
capita water use was made possible by Cambay Group’s holistic approach not just
to development but to water.
Based on floodplain projects elsewhere where developers
fight water, Cambay Group opted to work with water to maximize its effective
use and minimalize its destructive tendencies.
River Islands already has 1,900 homes occupied and another
It is being developed on the southeastern of nearly 60 land
tracts reclaimed from the vast San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta marshland created
The first levee was put in place by pioneers in 1850 to
allow farming the rich soil. The last levee that helped create more than 700
miles of winding waterways — of which 18 miles surround River Islands — was
finished in 1930.
Back in the 1990s before homes were built to the west of the
pre-existing levee carrying Union Pacific trains, it wasn’t usual in June
during high river flows for high ground water to create mushy ground in spots
limiting crop options.
And because Stewart Tract — the official government name for
the 4,800 acres that River Islands is being built on — is located at a
chokepoint where the San Joaquin River first enters the Delta, it has flooded
numerous times in the past.
Water — whether there is too much of it flowing down rivers,
not enough of it, heavy storm run-off, for sustaining ecological systems, or
its quality — is the basic building block of civilization. But unlike most
other developments, River Islands’ size and its location required a fully
integrated solution with nature while at the same…
Read more:: ISLAND OF WATER MISERS – Manteca Bulletin