Accompanying this column is a pretty picture of the city’s dilemma. Water flowing at the Platte River near Ashland, where Lincoln gets its drinking water, is at historic lows.

This graph shows 83 years of flow data from the Ashland gauge.

The black line is this year’s flow at the Ashland gauge.

The brown shading is the lowest 10th percentile over 83 years; royal blue is the highest 10th percentile. Average is the green in the middle.

Think of this as your child’s height and weight compared to the percentile chart in the doctor’s office. She's been hitting above average. Then there's a slide down. 

Flow is measured in cubic feet of water. One cubic foot of water is about the size of a basketball, according to Robert Swanson, director of the U.S. Geological Survey Nebraska Water Science Center.

Water flow dropped to below 300 basketballs per second at the gauge for several days in early August.   

Mark this up as a first

First, some history for the Internet illiterate. 

McKayla is Not Impressed is an emerging photoshop meme featuring a photograph of U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney wearing a scowling expression, arms crossed, on the podium after getting (just a) silver medal in the vault.

Maroney has been photoshopped onto everything from a photo of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon to the Beatles performing on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Now a local politician has joined the viral bandwagon.

Lancaster County Board candidate Darl Naumann posted the famous picture, photoshopped in front of the County-City Building, on his campaign Facebook page with the caption: "McKayla is not impressed with the Lancaster County Board using RTSD funds to cover the budget deficit."

Money is not speech

First it was the Occupy Lincoln participants urging the City Council to get on the bandwagon for a U.S. constitutional amendment that would allow government to have some control over campaign donations and spending.

Code words were: “Corporations aren’t people. Money isn’t speech.” 

This week, a leader of a national coalition, Move to Amend, brought a similar message to the council.

Sitting quietly in the audience Monday was Jack Gould, a volunteer with Nebraska Common Cause.

Gould understands the local and state political process. 

Gould did not speak. But he has been working quietly behind the scenes with a mayor who ardently supported campaign finance reform as a state senator and council members who, because of their progressive philosophies, might believe the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, also called the Citizens United decision, went too far.

So far, more than 170 city or county governments across the country have expressed support for a constitutional amendment.

The Lincoln City Council has been hesitant in the past to weigh in on state or national issues. But I wouldn’t be shocked to see something on a future council agenda suggesting Lincoln should join that group. 

Reach Nancy Hicks at 402-473-7250 or