Funds set aside toward constructing 3 Polk Regional Water Cooperative projects
A cooperative effort to keep up with the ever-growing water demands of thirsty Polk County residents got a boost Tuesday with a $25 million commitment from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
The district’s governing board agreed to allocate $5 million a year for each of the next five years toward constructing up to three projects being studied by a cooperative of local cities and Polk County, said Susanna Martinez Tarokh, water district spokeswoman.
If local governing bodies do nothing to enhance our water supply, by the year 2035, the Polk County region is expected to be short 46.5 million gallons per day.
While the issue might seem a long way off, it is not when it comes to ensuring water supplies, said Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz, who represents his city on the Polk Regional Water Cooperative.
The cooperative was formed in March 2017 by 15 cities and towns and the county to search for alternative water sources. The cooperative’s board – consisting of representatives from each city and the county — looked at some 200 options to conserve water and meet future needs. They came up with three projects that together could bring in an additional 55 million gallons of water a day.