Mayor Chris Beutler today lifted the mandatory water restrictions imposed Sunday because of unprecedented flood damage at the City's water production facilities at the Platte River. He also urged residents and businesses to continue to voluntarily conserve water as work continues to repair the water infrastructure. All residents and businesses are asked to reduce water consumption by 25 percent. Car washes will be allowed to reopen at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Beutler said the mandatory restrictions are being lifted immediately because of progress made to restore power and repair facilities. Receding floodwater is allowing better access to the damaged sites. He said wells in the north wellfields have begun production and capacity has risen from 32 to 40 million gallons per day. The City is close to restoring power to a horizontal well on the east bank, and it could be operational in the next couple of days.
The Mayor said Lincoln citizens have "risen to the challenge" presented by the flooding, and he thanked residents and business for their sacrifices in conserving water. He also praised the "heroic efforts" of Lincoln Transportation and Utilities (LTU); the Omaha Public Power District; the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency; Lincoln Fire and Rescue; Lincoln Police Department; and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.
"Our community learned a lot about itself in the face of this adversity," Mayor Beutler said. "What I have learned is that the courage and fortitude of Lincoln residents cannot be overstated. We remained unbowed and unbroken. We pulled together like never before. In my 12 years in office, I have never been more proud to be your Mayor."
Water quality was never threatened during the emergency. LTU officials said they hope to provide repair cost estimates to the State by Friday. Mayor Beutler emphasized that challenges remain. "Repairing our infrastructure may take some time," he said. "We need to remain good stewards of our water. Residents should maintain some of the new conservation habits they developed during this crisis to save water. Don't lose that conservation spirit. It may be necessary again if the summer turns dry."
More information on water conservation and Lincoln Water System operations is available at water.lincoln.ne.gov.