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Mayor's Office Heading City Letter Head

July 5, 2002
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Jerry Obrist, Lincoln Water System, 441-5930
Lynn Johnson, Parks and Recreation, 441-8265

Mayor Institutes Voluntary Odd-Even Watering Plan
Parks and Recreation Department taking conservation measures

Mayor Don Wesely today asked Lincoln residents to voluntarily limit outdoor water use to an odd-even alternate day schedule to conserve water during the hot, dry weather. Lincoln’s water usage averaged more than 66.3 million gallons of water per day in June, an all-time high for the month. From July 1 through 4, water usage has averaged 80.7 million gallons per day. Last year’s high usage came in August, with an average of 65.7 million gallons used per day that month. The all-time high usage in Lincoln was 70.9 million gallons per day in July 1974.

“With the high water usage and no rain in the forecast, it is the time to ask citizens to comply with an odd-even arrangement,” said Mayor Wesely. “Our water system is designed to keep up with the demand, but there is no reason to put unnecessary demands on our supply. Conserving water is always a good idea, and it is necessary now to prevent mandatory restrictions.”

Mayor Wesely said City government will follow the conservation measures recommended by the Lincoln Water System to reduce water use. Measures include watering the ornamental gardens only during the cooler parts of the day to reduce evaporation and reducing the watering of the public golf course fairways.

The Mayor said the community does not yet have an actual water shortage, but due to the ongoing drought conditions, residents have been using a lot more water than normal. “If people will voluntarily use less to reduce consumption back to the City’s more typical usage levels, we can prevent an actual shortage from occurring during these hot, dry conditions,” said Wesely.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, those properties with street addresses ending in an even number, including zero, are asked to water lawns and wash cars and other vehicles on even-numbered calendar days. Addresses ending in odd numbers are asked to water on odd-numbered calendar days. Those property owners with more than one street address at the same location can choose either even- or odd- numbered days and notify the Lincoln Water System of their decision.

Jerry Obrist of the Lincoln Water System said residents have done a good job of reducing water usage since the Mayor first asked residents to conserve water June 25. Obrist said water usage went down from more than 90 million gallons a day to about 82 million gallons.

Public Works and Utilities Director Allan Abbott also reminded residents that the City’s water fees are structured to encourage conservation. “The more water you use, the higher the price,” Abbott said. “Those who don’t cut back on their watering can expect high water bills.”

Water is billed by the unit. One unit is 100 cubic feet of water or about 750 gallons. The price is 79 cents per unit for the first 8 units (about 6,000 gallons). The price increases to $1.09 for the next 15 units (11,250 gallons). It increases again to $1.45 per unit for every 750 gallons above 15 units. A complete description of water rates is available on the city web site at under Public Works and Utilities.

In addition to following the odd-even system, the Lincoln Water System recommends the following:

  • watering during the cool part of the day.
  • not watering when it is windy..
  • adjusting sprinklers to water only the lawn, and not the sidewalk or street.
  • using a broom, not a hose and water, for outdoor cleaning.
  • washing your car with a pail of soapy water, using the hose only to rinse the car.
The Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department began implementing the following measures July 2 because of the dry conditions:
  • Raising the mowing heights to three inches and mulching the clippings to hold water in the grass.
  • No watering of park turf, including ballfields, after 8 a.m.
  • Wetting the Agra Lime on ball diamond infields daily to insure player safety.
  • Watering ornamental gardens before noon.
  • Watering newly planted trees individually until the trees are established.
  • Reducing the watering of fairways at City golf courses,
  • Maintaining floral displays and establishing landscape materials by hand-watering.
“Like homeowners, the City has an investment in its grass, shrubs and flowers,” said Lynn Johnson. “We are taking steps to preserve that investment and conserve water at the same time.”

If dry conditions continue, Johnson said more water conservation measures may be taken, including (in priority order):

  • No watering on driving ranges at the Highlands and Mahoney Golf Courses.
  • No watering on rough areas of all City golf courses.
  • Eliminating the use of some fountains.
The City Wastewater Division is continuing to water its irrigated areas at the Theresa Street and Northeast Treatment Plants, but the water being used is not drinkable. It is treated wastewater that is disinfected with chlorine. Non-potable water is used for various treatment process needs throughout the year at both plants.

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