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Flooded river threatens Nebraska’s capital city water wells

March 18, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The mayor of Nebraska’s capital has ordered residents to cut their water use in half because the city’s well fields are threatened by record flooding on the Platte River.

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler (BITE-lur) says the system lost temporarily lost pressure Sunday evening. It was again producing drinkable water by 9:30 p.m., but the mayor describes the situation as tenuous. The well fields sit near Ashland, about 22 miles northeast of Lincoln.

The opportunity for system workers to check the well fields and lines and restore power depends on water in the river receding. The National Weather Service says the river remained in flood stage near the well fields Monday morning but has dropped 3 feet (1 meter) since cresting Saturday morning.

Officials say water usage Sunday likely drew down the 100 million gallons stored inside city limits. Ten million more gallons are stored in Ashland.

City officials say water contamination is not a concern, because the water is drawn from the aquifer 80 feet below the river surface and the city’s two water treatment facilities are operational.

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