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Water Watch-Daily Usage
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July 26, 2002
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Jerry Obrist, Lincoln Water System, 441-7571

Mayor Thanks Residents For Drop in Water Usage
Mandatory restrictions remain in effect

Mayor Don Wesely today thanked Lincoln residents for cutting back on water usage this past week in response to the city’s water emergency. Mandatory water restrictions went into effect Saturday, July 20 for the first time since 1974. Under the current restrictions, properties with street addresses ending in even numbers may water their lawns and wash cars and other vehicles only on even-numbered days. Those with addresses ending in odd numbers may water only on odd-numbered days.

"Our goal has been to use no more than 65 million gallons daily, and because of citizen cooperation, that goal was reached yesterday," said Mayor Wesely. "We are asking the public to continue to do all they can to conserve water to avoid additional mandatory restrictions."

The latest water usage amounts are posted daily on the City web site at Usage has been below 70 million gallons the past four days, and Thursday’s total was 65.4 million gallons.

Recent rains in the Platte River basin have increased water flow at the City’s Ashland well fields to about 1,000 cubic feet per second (CFS). The flow had dropped to about 650 CFS yesterday, and without more rain, the flow is expected to drop again.

Violations of the emergency water regulations are addressed by two separate City departments:

  • The Public Works and Utilities Department may issue a written notification to inform the person in violation that his or her water may be shut off and will not be turned back on until a $100 bond is posted and the person pays the costs for shutting off and turning on the water supply.
  • Citations for violations may be issued by Lincoln Police Department officers. Violators can face fines of up to $500 and six months in jail.
The two Departments act independently. Action by one is not required before the other can act. Those in violation of the emergency water regulations are subject to action by both departments.

As of noon today, no customers have had their water shut off, but the Lincoln Water System (LWS) has sent out about 50 warning letters. The Lincoln Police Department has not yet issued any citations.

The City is asking citizens who see violations to contact the property owner to make sure they understand the regulations before calling LWS or the Lincoln Police Department. The LWS number for information and complaints is 441-7571.

Mayor Wesely initially asked for citizens to conserve water June 25. The Mayor instituted a voluntary odd-even outdoor watering schedule July 6. The City Parks and Recreation Department began taking water conservation measures July 2. The County-City Public Building Commission put all local government facilities on the odd-even watering system July 9.

The rules for mandatory water restrictions include the following measures:

  • Sod that has been installed for less than 30 days may be watered every day. A free permit from the Building and Safety Department is needed, and receipts and proof of purchase date will be required. Close to 100 permits have been issued this week.
  • Commercial nurseries are exempt but are asked to curtail all non-essential water use.
  • Commercial car washing facilities and commercial power washers may operate. Power washers, however, are prohibited from washing sidewalks, driveways or other paved areas.
  • The operation of all fountains is prohibited.
  • The watering of golf course tees is permitted on alternative days. Watering greens is permitted, but watering fairways is prohibited.
  • Washing sidewalks, driveways and other paved areas is prohibited.
  • Re-filling or adding water to private swimming pools and wading pools may occur only between midnight and 6 a.m. Draining these pools is prohibited except for an end of season closure.
  • Filling or re-filling public pools must be approved by the Mayor.
  • No jet flushing of sanitary or storm sewers shall use drinkable water, unless it is necessary to prevent imminent danger to health and safety.
Additional mandatory restrictions might include a voluntary 25 percent reduction in residential indoor use; a prohibition on laying new sod; limiting car washing to commercial facilities; limiting the use of fire hydrants to fire fighting and water quality activities; and a prohibition on street sweeping. LWS could also inform major industrial, commercial and institutional water users that voluntary or mandatory water reductions and shutdowns may be necessary.

In addition to following the odd-even system, the LWS recommends 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; and washing cars with a pail of soapy water, using the hose only to rinse the car.

City residents are also reminded that water fees are structured to encourage conservation. Information on water rates can be found on the City web site.

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