Public Safety Director Tom Casady said today that the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) will begin issuing tickets Monday, August 20 for any violations of the City mandatory water restrictions. LPD will no longer issue warnings. Since the mandatory restrictions went into effect August 9, LPD has responded to about 475 reported violations. Only two citations have been issued.
Because of historically flows in the Platte River basin, all water customers are now REQUIRED to follow the designated day schedule for all outdoor watering, including the washing of vehicles:
"This year, a tan yard is a sign of good citizenship," Casady said at a news conference in his front yard, where he has allowed his grass to go dormant. "We desperately need more people to think twice about the importance of lush lawns in comparison to the critical water needs of the community. Ten days has been plenty of warning. I think we've been quite patient with people who have claimed that they were unaware of the restrictions or hadn't reset their timers."
Violators who are convicted may be punished by a fine of up to $500 dollars or up to six months in jail or both. Each day that a violation continues is a separate offense. Violations can be reported to the LPD non-emergency number - 402-441-6000.
Jerry Obrist, Utilities Coordinator for the Lincoln Water System (LWS), said City officials will meet again Thursday August 23 to review water use and river flow. He said the next step could be limiting outdoor watering to two days a week.
Obrist said water use the first eight days of first of August averaged 65.1 million gallons per day. Since mandatory restrictions went into effect, water use has averaged about 56.9 million gallons per day. Flows in the Platte River are averaging about 332 cubic feet per second (cfs) this month. That compares to an average of 1,192 cfs in the same time period in 2002, the last time the City issued mandatory water restrictions.
Under the mandatory water restrictions, washing sidewalks, driveways and other paved areas is prohibited unless necessary to prevent imminent danger to health or safety. Re-filling or adding water to private swimming pools and wading pools may occur only between midnight and 6 a.m.
Those with questions on the water restrictions can contact LWS at 402-441-5918.