Mayor Chris Beutler today thanked residents for using less water, but said mandatory water restrictions must remain in place until flows in the Platte River improve. Mandatory restrictions went into effect August 9 due to historically low river flows. The City's goal for water use is 55 million gallons a day (mgd) or less. August water use averaged 57 mgd, and water use for the first five days of September averaged 52 mgd.
"The mandatory watering restrictions and enforcement of the designated day schedule have stabilized our water supply," Beutler said. "But as long as the drought continues and river flows remain minimal, we must continue our water conservation efforts in order to replenish the aquifer and ensure an adequate water supply for the coming year."
Under mandatory water restrictions, all water customers must follow the designated day schedule for all outdoor watering, including the washing of vehicles:
Jerry Obrist, Lincoln Water System (LWS) Chief Engineer, said river flow of at least 700 cubic feet per second (cfs) is needed to begin to refill the aquifer. River flow so far in September is averaging 455 cfs. The normal September cessation of agricultural irrigation may soon help increase river flow.
To prevent the loss of street trees during the drought, Mayor Beutler also asked residents to water young street trees neighboring their property on their designated watering days. Trees planted within the last five years are at risk.
The Lincoln Police Department (LPD) has issued 351 tickets for watering violations so far. The Lancaster County Court is allowing people who have received tickets to waive court appearances and pay $100 fines plus court costs. Violations can be reported to the LPD non-emergency number - 402-441-6000.
Those with questions on the water restrictions can contact LWS at 402-441-5918.