Lincoln narrows search for another source of water

Dec. 2, 2022, midnight ·

Map of one of seven alternatives for future Lincoln water supply
Map of one of seven alternatives for future Lincoln water supply

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An advisory group has narrowed the options for Lincoln to develop a second water source.

The Water Source Advisory Council is considering seven alternatives to bring more water to Nebraska’s growing capital city. Right now, all Lincoln’s water comes from wells along the Platte River near Ashland, about 30 miles east of the city. Alternatives being considered include new wells and a reservoir there. They also include getting water from wells or flows along the Missouri River, another 40 miles to the east, or via a connection to the Missouri through Omaha’s Metropolitan Utilities District. Lincoln’s Director of Transportation and Utilities Liz Elliott says the work is important.

“This project ensures that the city of Lincoln and our residents have water for generations to come. Our forefathers and mothers 100 years ago built Ashland – or almost 100 years ago, about 90 years ago. And they had enough vision and foresight to make sure we had water here today. And we want to make sure that we’re doing that for future generations as well,” Elliott said.

The group will to make a recommendation to the mayor, who will make a final decision next year. That could be followed by a couple years of study and another 15-20 years to design and build the system. It’s been estimated to cost anywhere from $375,000,000 to $800,000,000, but Elliot says those estimates don’t include inflation.