Polk County interests want potential impacts of Peace River utility project studied
Government water managers on Tuesday postponed a vote on a four-county utility’s permit to pump and store more water from the Peace River until several challenges to the proposal can be reviewed.
Seven challenges, primarily from Polk County, were filed early last week against the Peace River-Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority’s proposed permit that would increase the amount of water it pumps from the Peace River to 258 million gallons per day. It would also allow for the authority to supply up to 80 million gallons of water to its Southwest Florida customers every day in coming years.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District had been set to consider the permit Tuesday.
Currently, the authority’s permit from the water management district allows the authority to store 120 million gallons of water per day during the summer rainy season, when river flows are typically highest.
A new permit would allow the authority to pursue bigger plans: to build a third reservoir. This would allow the authority to store more than 18 billion gallons of water in the dry spring season from November to May to use for drinking water, while taking less water from the river to maintain fresh water flows downstream to Charlotte Harbor, the state’s second-largest estuary.
Along with the reservoir, the authority plans a bigger water treatment plant. The expansion could cost about $200 million.
The authority is run jointly by Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties. It supplies millions of gallons of drinking water per day, primarily to customers in Charlotte and Sarasota counties and the city of North Port.