Beemer (pop. 750) needed to upgrade its water system. Planning for the project began in 1996, followed by a needs study that was conducted in 1997. Study results indicated that citizens’ top concern was for an improved water system.
Problems with the old system were plenty—low water pressure, a storage facility that needed repairs, and a need for additional wells. After the project started, the existing well began experiencing problems, forcing the village to ration water through the summer while repairs were underway.
When the project was completed, Beemer sported new water meters, additional water lines, a new storage facility, two new wells and an updated third well. Funding for the project came from the Northeast Economic Development District, a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) administered through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, and a loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
The project resulted in significantly increased water pressure and helped raise citizens’ awareness of water conservation. Where Beemer residents previously paid a flat fee for unlimited water usage, they are now billed for their specific water usage. Many locals opted to take advantage of the efficient new water system and installed lawn sprinkler systems. The improved system will lower the fire insurance rating and will mean lower property insurance for all area homeowners and property owners.
Since implementation of the new water system, the village no only reduced water usage by 35 percent, but improved the safety and quality of its water supply.
“ I would strongly recommend that water improvement be an important agenda item considered by all Nebraska villages and towns,” said Doug Steffensmeier, Beemer board member.