December 18, 2014

Lincoln’s water woes worsen

Drought has taken a toll on Nebraska agriculture. It now threatens Lincoln’s water supply.

Lincoln Chief Engineer Jerry Obrist says worries rise as the level of the Platte River falls.

“We’ve withdrawn almost half of the river flow and the river flow doesn’t percolate immediately into the aquifer. There is a lot of delay there,” Obrist tells Nebraska Radio Affiliate KLIN. “So, we’re basically mining water from the aquifer now with these low river flows.”

Obrist says the Platte River has fallen so low the city has had to tap the Ogallala Aquifer.

“So, we’re going to be temporarily mining water from the aquifer and we cannot let the aquifer get too low, because we’re going to need water this fall and winter,” according to Obrist. “So, we need to cut down the outside water use.”

Lincoln is under voluntary water conservation. The mayor might move later this week to make that mandatory.

Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.