As of midnight, Monday, Lincoln Police have responded to nearly 100 calls regarding water violations.
We've been talking about water restrictions for weeks and the city says they're cracking down. Starting Monday, August 20, warnings are over. Now, it's ticket time.
If you address ends in an even number, you can water on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. You can't water at all on Monday. Violators could be fined up to $500 and/or jail time.
For eleven days, we've had mandatory water restrictions. But the city says violators are still going against the law, It's time to crack down.
475 calls last week. That's more than the city ever expected. But those calls only resulted in 2 tickets.
This week, law–breakers won't be so lucky. Public Safety Director, Tom Casady says, "on Monday, we're no longer going to be accepting the excuses that we've been accepting for the past ten days—and people can expect that, if we find them in violation of the law, they're going to receive a citation and go to court."
The city says, even after the mandatory restrictions were put into place, more water was being used than Lincoln's water sources can handle.
This is past getting serious. Signs around town said the city averaged more than 60 million gallons per day. The new goal is 55 million gallons.
With the river levels getting dangerously low, we are in an historic drought. Jerry Obrist with the Lincoln Water System says, "we are in a completely unique situation."
The city says, even if people are watering on their allowed days, many are just watering more when they can. That's not the point of these restrictions..."so only water it half as long in your zones and that'll be amazing how much water you can save."
Most calls about violations come around 4 or 5 am, but police say that won't stop them..."for residential customers, we'll be banging on the door or calling the phone to try to wake them so they can receive that citation. And for businesses, we're gonna try to make a return visit if there's no one there."
The city says they don't want to hand out these violations, it ends up being more work and money for Lincoln, but they have no other option at this point.
At one point, officials were worried about having enough water to fight fires.
They say, as of now, there isn't any danger of dipping into that fund, something they're trying hard to make sure doesn't happen.
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