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Mayor's Office Heading City Letter Head

March 14, 2003

For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Jerry Obrist, Lincoln Water System, 441-7571

Voluntary restrictions begin April 1

Mayor Don Wesely today released the City’s revised Water Management Plan and will ask citizens to begin voluntary conservation April 1 due to continuing drought-like conditions.

“Precipitation in the Lincoln area is four to five inches below normal over the last 12 months,” said Allan Abbott, Director of the City Public Works and Utilities Department. “The sources of our water supply also received below normal precipitation over the past year, so we anticipate continuing drought-like conditions to affect the City’s water supply for the summer.”

Last summer, the City implemented mandatory water restrictions for the first time since 1974. At that time, Wesely asked the Mayor’s Water Conservation Task Force, which includes citizens, large water users and lawn and garden care professionals, to revise the previous plan.

“This is the worst drought many of us have seen in our lifetimes, and to maintain adequate supplies for our community, all of us must take conservation measures,” said Mayor Wesely. “The changes in our water management plan include additional restrictions for local government’s water use. At the same time, the changes will make it easier for homeowners to comply with restrictions. We are asking citizens to water lawns and wash vehicles on assigned days. We hope that by conserving now, we can avoid mandatory restrictions in the summer.”

A major change for residents is a revision in the lawn watering schedule. Under the new plan, those with addresses ending in even numbers are asked to water on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Those with addresses ending in odd numbers are asked to water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The change was recommended as being more workable, especially for those with automatic sprinkler systems. Citizens are also asked to wash vehicles on the same schedule. Mondays are reserved for watering golf course fairways and other special needs, including the Sunken Gardens which is heavily used on weekends.

The Lincoln Water System recommends the following conservation tips:

  • Water during the cool part of the day, and avoid watering on windy days.
  • Adjust sprinklers to water only the lawn, not the sidewalk or street.
  • Use a broom, not a hose and water, for outdoor cleaning.
  • Wash your vehicles with a pail of soapy water, using the hose only to rinse the car.

If the voluntary restrictions become mandatory, residents will be required to follow the watering schedule. Customers who violate the restrictions are subject to fines and can have their water service terminated. Violators would be liable for all costs of enforcement.

If mandatory restrictions are needed later, the following provisions would also go into effect:

  • Washing paved areas is prohibited.
  • Refilling public and private fountains with capacities of greater than 20,000 gallons is prohibited.
  • Permits can be obtained free of charge from the City Building and Safety Department for those with private wells and to water newly seeded lawns (less than 30 days for cool season grasses and less then 45 days for warm season grasses); to install new automatic sprinkler systems; and to operate water-cooled air conditioners.
  • The refilling of private and public swimming pools is restricted to the hours of midnight to 6 a.m. Draining pools is prohibited except for emergency maintenance or season closure. Small wading pools are exempted.
  • Commercial car washes and power washer businesses are allowed to operate, but power washer businesses must comply with the designated day schedule.
  • The City will flush hydrants only to enhance water quality.
  • The use of water for private and public sanitary sewer cleaning and for private and public street cleaning and sweeping is limited to 6,000 gallons of potable water per day.
  • The watering of sand-based athletic fields and ballfield infields is permitted every day for safety.

To help residents reduce their outdoor water use, the Mayor’s Water Conservation Task Force has published a new brochure called “A Guide to Planting Waterwise.” The brochure is available on the City web site at and at the County-City Building, local nurseries and retailers carrying lawn and garden stock and supplies.

City residents are also reminded that water fees are structure to encourage conservation – the more water used, the higher the rate. Information on water rates can be found on the City web site under Public Works and Utilities.

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