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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2004 Media Releases


Date:
December 6, 2004
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Jerry Obrist, Lincoln Water System, 441-7571


Water System Suggests Year-Round Outdoor Water Conservation
Mayor directs Task Force to study suggestion

The Lincoln Water System (LWS) has suggested to Mayor Coleen J. Seng that residents be asked to comply with voluntary outdoor water conservation measures all year, not just during the summer months. The suggestion is in response to ongoing drought conditions affecting the City water supply.

“Rainfall was five inches below normal last summer in Lincoln, and the North Platte river system which supplies Lincoln with water is only about 20 percent full,” said Mayor Seng. “Water consumption was down last summer due to voluntary conservation measures, cooler temperatures and timely summer rains. But to maintain an ongoing adequate supply of water, conservation measures are important.” (A chart showing water usage statistics for the past three summers follow this release.)

Mayor Seng said she will direct LWS to discuss the idea with the Mayor’s Water Conservation Task Force this winter and have a recommendation to her on the issue before lawn watering begins next spring. Under the voluntary outdoor water conservation measures, residents with addresses ending in even numbers are asked to water lawns on their designated days (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays). Those with addresses ending in odd numbers are asked to water on their designated days (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays).

Jerry Obrist, Chief Engineer for the Lincoln Water System (LWS), said several factors are monitored to determine the need for water restrictions. “Adequate river flows through the winter and early spring are essential to fill the aquifer at the beginning of each summer season,” said Obrist. “The need for conservation measures for each summer season are set by reviewing river flows, rainfall, temperatures and summer weather forecasts.”

The Mayor’s Office established a Water Conservation Task Force in 1988, and long-term water conservation is an important element of LWS’s Water Management Plan. Information on water usage, rates and conservation is available on City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov and at local nurseries.

  Water Usage   May 1 through August 31      
  Annual usage in gallons Maximum daily usage in gallons Number of days over 90° F Summer rainfall Median river flow**  
        Inches Cubic feet per second Historical median
2004 12.8 billion 66 million 19 11.0 3,550 73%
2003 13.7 B 78 M 39 12.9 3,300 67%
2002 14.6 B 90 M 56 15.2* 2,400 49%
* One-half of the rainfall occurred in late August.
** The historical median flow is 4,900 cubic feet per second.


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