Water-Related News

PRWC may charge miners, farmers for water

POLK COUNTY – On Nov. 13, the Polk Regional Water Cooperative unanimously voted to move forward with a plan to borrow around $250 million from the federal government.

The loan would be used to partially pay local costs for what could be a $1 billion water infrastructure project, primarily a plan to build two desalination plants in Polk County by 2027.

Groundwater has been steadily depleting under Polk County since at least the 1950s, when Kissengen Springs dried up due to excessive pumping. A few years ago, state officials warned Polk County leaders that future water supplies would have to come from alternative water sources, such as capturing surface water in lakes and rivers, or salt water in the Lower Floridan Aquifer.

The Southwest Water Management District has already agreed to pay 50 percent of the total cost of future alternative water supplies. If the two desalination plants are built as proposed, county taxpayers could be on the hook to pay the remaining $500 million in construction costs.

To cover the other $250 million in local costs, the PRWC board is considering borrowing additional money from the state, substantially raising water bills to residents to make federal and state loan payments starting around 2033.