Water-Related News

Formation of Polk water authority still underway

AUBURNDALE — If Polk officials want to succeed in forming a regional water authority and getting financial help from the Southwest Florida Management District to pay for future projects, they need to operate as a single body on water matters, Robert Beltran, Swiftmud's executive director said Wednesday.

Beltran's comments came during a meeting of officials from most of Polk's cities who were convening to discuss forming a regional authority by mid-2016 in an attempt to attract Swiftmud funding.

The group composed of local elected officials and their senior staff was formed through a series of agreements among the cities and Polk County that were approved last year. The group effort was kicked off with a countywide water summit last August in Haines City.

The cooperative is part of a larger multi-county effort called the Central Florida Water Initiative, which last year released a report confirming what utility officials and environmentalists already suspected, which is that the current practice of relying on the aquifer for future water supplies is unsustainable and a different strategy will be required.

That strategy will include a mix of increased conservation and development of alternative water sources.