Back in 2012, when the rain stopped and the earth cracked open, cities across Nebraska cut back water use. In some, including Lincoln, watering your lawn on the wrong day could bring a knock on your door.
The strain on the Lower Platte River, which serves about 80 percent of the state’s population, including Lincoln and Omaha, was apparent.
Lincoln, far more vulnerable than Omaha, has boosted its water supplies by 30 percent since then. Both cities are collaborating with other water managers to find a way to replenish the Lower Platte during drought.
Last month, the Lower Platte River Basin Consortium published a draft analysis of eight potential sources for extra water. The cost ranges from $6 million to nearly $250 million, and the options come with varying degrees of reliability.
“They’re expensive — there is no silver bullet,” said John Engel, the vice president and water resource engineer at HDR Inc., who assisted with the study.
A public meeting on the report is set for 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, 3125 Portia St., in Lincoln. A formal presentation starts at 5:30 p.m.