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Water Watch-Daily Usage
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August 21, 2002
For More Information Contact:
Jerry Obrist, Lincoln Water System, 441-7571

Mandatory Water Restrictions to Continue

Mayor Don Wesely today said the City does not expect to end mandatory water restrictions in Lincoln in the near future. The restrictions went into effect July 20 and allow property owners with street addresses ending in even numbers to 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.

"The recent rains have helped to reduce water usage, but we have many other factors to consider as we look ahead," said Mayor Wesely.

"We will continue to review and evaluate our water situation to make sure we have an adequate supply, not just for now, but in the weeks ahead," said Allan Abbott, Director of the City Public Works and Utilities Department.

Lincoln’s water supply comes from the well fields near Ashland, which pump water from an underground aquifer. The aquifer is dependent on river flows to replace the water drawn out. The Chief Engineer of the Lincoln Water System (LWS), Jerry Obrist, said the review process includes consideration of: • past, current and anticipated river flows; • the recharge rate compared to the water demand; • long range weather forecasts on precipitation and temperatures; • the remaining operational water volume in the wellfield; • pumping levels; and • anticipated water demands for the rest of the year. The City has set a goal of using no more than 65 million gallons of water daily. The daily average is 56.9 million gallons for August.

"The cooperation of citizens has been very important in helping us keep water usage down,"said Wesely. "We will lift water restrictions when we are confident our aquifer has been adequately recharged. We must take a long-term approach to this issue."

To date, no customers have had their water shut off as a result of violating the mandatory restrictions, but the Lincoln Water System (LWS) has sent out 325 warning letters. The Lincoln Police Department has issued less than ten citations since July 20.

General Water Restriction Information

The latest information on water restrictions and water usage amounts are posted daily on the City web site at

The rules currently in effect 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.
  • 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.
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.

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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