Lincoln water use plunged by more than 10 million gallons Thursday, the day Mayor Chris Beutler urged residents to conserve by watering their lawns less frequently.

The 0.22 inches of rain that fell in parts of Lincoln on Thursday evening helped. But residents also responded to the mayor's plea, said Jerry Obrist, chief engineer for city water works.

Beutler is proud of the cooperation and lower consumption, which dropped to 65.376 million gallons.

"We have great citizens, and they finally understand the seriousness of the situation," he said Friday. 

The city will not have to resort to mandatory conservation rules if Lincoln residents keep their use at or below 65 million gallons a day.

The best conservation practice is to limit water use outdoors to designated days, Obrist said.

That's Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays for residents whose addresses end in an even number or zero.

It's Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for those with addresses ending in odd numbers.

Designated days works to keep water usage down, Obrist said. "It's been tried in a lot of places besides Lincoln."

Lincoln residents need to continue to conserve until the drought ends, Beutler said.

The city's water use Thursday was the third lowest for July. The high was Tuesday when Lincolnites used more than 80 million gallons of water.

Reach Nancy Hicks at 402-473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com.