Mandatory water restrictions in Lincoln have been lifted.
While the mandatory restrictions were lifted Thursday, Beutler urged residents to continue conserving water by voluntarily following the previous mandatory limits on watering and car washing.
400 tickets have been issued for water violations since the restrictions went into effect Aug. 9.
Those ticketed are being allowed to waive court appearances and pay $148 in fines and court costs. Beutler says those who pay their fines may apply for a pardon to wipe the misdemeanor from their record.
The city's goal for water use is 55 million gallons a day or less. Water use in August averaged 57 million gallons a day, while water use for the first five days of September was 52 million gallons.
Under the mandatory restrictions, all water customers must follow a designated schedule for outdoor watering, including washing cars.
Flows in the North Platte River are extremely low because of record-breaking drought.
City Council Chairman Adam Hornung says he plans to introduce an ordinance that would change the charge from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction.
Residents who water their lawns on the wrong day face a maximum $500 fine and up to six months in jail if convicted, plus a mark on their criminal record.
Some licensed workers, such as teachers and nurses, are required to report misdemeanor offenses, and job hunters are worried that it could hurt their odds of finding work.