Flooding Causes a State of Emergency
Historic flooding is currently affecting South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and parts of Minnesota. The flooding is largely due to the rapid snow melt from the snow storms which hit the upper midwest throughout the end of Feb. The snow storms, which some news outlets have labeled the “bomb cyclone,” coupled with heavy rainfall has caused four deaths in Nebraska and Iowa over the past week and has caused one of the most disasterous floodings in Nebraska’s history.
U.S. Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, as well as Representatives Jeff Fortenberry, Don Bacon, and Adrian Smith wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump, “We write in strong support of Governor Pete Rickett’s request for an expedited presidential disaster declaration for what the governor has called ‘the most widespread disaster we’ve had in our state’s history.’”
The letter goes on to explain the devastation, “The catastrophic weather events that swept Nebraska required 65 of 93 counties to declare an emergency ... The Nebraska Department of Agriculture expects this to result in a $400 million loss to the state.”
Nebraska currently has 75 cities that have issued emergency declarations, with Lincoln under a flood warning and a level 2 mandatory water restriction. Lincoln’s water supply comes from wellfields along the Platte River near Ashland. The water is pulled from an aquifer under the Platte River and is treated in Ashland.
The water Lincoln is currently receiving is quality, however, there’s an issue with quantity. Most of the city wells are still inaccessible because of the flooding, which is making the repairs difficult according to Mayor Chris Beutler who has contacted the Governor’s Office and requested a disaster declaration for the City of Lincoln.
Businesses are being asked to reduce their water usage by 25 percent while residential properties are being asked to reduce by 50 percent. Mayor Beutler congratulated Lincolnites on the amount of water saved.
Since the mandatory water restriction went into effect more than 3 million gallons of water have been saved. The mandatory water restrictions are still in effect and will continue until further notice.
Maegan Luckiesh is a senior studying graphic design.