Lincoln residents and businesses reduced their water consumption by 3 million gallons during the first day of mandatory water restrictions, Mayor Chris Beutler said during a news conference Tuesday.
“We are very close to meeting our water consumption goals," Beutler said as he thanked residents for their efforts and sacrifice.
The mandatory water conservation restrictions remain in place while the city waits to get electricity restored to wellfields along the flood-ravaged Platte River near Ashland.
“Hopefully these issues can be resolved soon, but there are no guarantees,” Beutler said. City staff have been hesitant to say how long the mandatory water use restrictions will be in place.
The city is now limiting construction in the city right of way, where water lines are generally located, to avoid the risk of breaking a water main, Beutler said.
That will have some impact on construction projects, both private and public, he said.
Most of the city wells are still inaccessible because of the flooding, making repairs difficult, Beutler said.
Just one wellfield is able to pump water to the Ashland treatment plants, where water pulled from an aquifer under the Platte is treated before being sent to Lincoln.
The quality of city water is good. The problem is with the quantity. The wellfield that is up and running is not producing enough to meet normal winter water demand and keep city backup reservoirs full.
The city has said Lincoln homes and businesses generally use 30 million to 35 million gallons of water a day in the winter.
Beutler said he and his wife ate at Lazlo’s on Monday night, “and we had a wonderful meal served on paper plates.”
The city is requiring restaurants and institutions to use paper plates, cups and disposable utensils during the water crisis in order to save water on dishwashing.
Commercial car washes are closed, Beutler said, and he thanked the owners and staff of these businesses who aren’t working or making money right now.
The city is also suggesting businesses turn off their automatic toilet flushing.
Beutler asked residents to let their neighbors know about the water restrictions first before calling police. He said it's a strain on law enforcement to ask them to answer calls on water restrictions.
Lincoln residents could handle this “the Lincoln way — calmly and nicely asking people to pitch in and help out.”
Residents are being asked to reduce water consumption by 50 percent and businesses by 25 percent.
Suggestions for reducing water use in homes include the following: Minimizing toilet flushing, reducing showers and time spent in the shower, postponing laundry and washing dishes, using paper plates and cups, cooking foods that need little water, using bottled water and disabling the automatic ice maker.
#NebraskaStrong photos, videos
Nebraska City aerial
Operation Prairie Hay Drop photos
The #NEGuard has been supporting the ongoing response in Eastern Nebraska following massive flooding on the state’s river systems which began a week ago and caused catastrophic damage to the state’s infrastructure and agriculture.— NE National Guard (@NENationalGuard) March 21, 2019
(3/3)#NebraskaFlood #NebraskaStrong pic.twitter.com/N4zQ2zu2Zx
Missouri River at Nebraska 2/I-29
View of the Platte/Missouri
Edge of Offutt
North Bend ovation
Pence with rescuers
Americans like Brad Brown & his airboat co-pilot Jake Rohr are the heart of the heartland. Brad & Jake have been helping victims of the flooding & delivering much needed supplies. Grateful for their service & ALL the volunteers & emergency personnel helping Nebraskans in need! pic.twitter.com/l2PxhwX6a4— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) March 20, 2019
Lincoln help for Santee Sioux
Buying out the bleach
Help from North Platte
@GitRDoneLarry— Chandra Laine (@ChandraLaine) March 20, 2019
We are a group of volunteers gathering donations in North Platte Ne . We sent one semi to Fremont. We have two more semi trailers almost full.Get our 4th semi on Thursday. To the people, Your battle is our battle. We stand with you. We got you! ❤ #NebraskaStrong pic.twitter.com/wsDRTr0Tr9
Help for farmers
Thanks to generious donations to the Disaster Relief Fund, we were able to deliver supplies to farmers along the Niobrara River. We brought them milk replacement for calves and medicine. Help us do more good by donating to the fund: https://t.co/sFi40cxnwG #nebraskastrong pic.twitter.com/dAGUYDKFpo— Nebraska Farm Bureau (@NEFarmBureau) March 20, 2019
Niobrara ice chunks
Sandbagging at Cooper
Pence in Nebraska
Visited the relief shelter at Elkhorn Middle School today to let the Nebraska flood victims know @POTUS and I are WITH them & to thank the incredible military personnel & @RedCross volunteers helping those impacted. THANK YOU! pic.twitter.com/ZA6X7qfeSi— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) March 20, 2019
I-680 Mormon bridge
Sasse surveying damage
Latest from NEMA
Repairing the roads
Beer fridge was stocked!
For those of you that don't know, our state of #Nebraska is going through record flooding. Sometimes though, the world sends you a break. These guys went to their #DuckCamp and found a fully-stocked #BeerFridge. #NebraskaStrong #Flood2019 pic.twitter.com/t8FvdqVQ3g— Fat Boy Wild Game (@gameseasonings) March 19, 2019
Flying in supplies
The Nebraska flooding is so heartbreaking but the whole state has stepped up to help. I can’t be more proud of my brother for flying his plane to Fremont with baby supplies to help. Proud to be from Nebraska #NebraskaFlood #NebraskaStrong @GMA pic.twitter.com/vFZVDj6lm6— Michelle Galles (@WakefieldFCCLA) March 19, 2019
Offutt before and after
I joined the Fremont National Guard in Nebraska today to get an aerial view of flooding impact as we traveled to thank volunteers in Fremont, NE, address a community meeting in Niobrara, and receive a briefing in Lynch.#NebraskaFlood | #NebraskaStrong | #FremontStrong pic.twitter.com/piEXa7TpIq— Scott (@FirstMinScott) March 19, 2019