Water-Related News

Polk water summit 1st step in forming countywide municipal cooperative

By Tom Palmer

HAINES CITY – Forming a countywide municipal water cooperative could avoid the mistakes officials in other parts of Florida have made and provide adequate water for everyone, a crowd of elected officials was told Monday during Polk County’s first- ever water summit.

“We have the power to control our future,” said Paul Senft, a Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board member from Haines City.

The meeting at Lake Eva Banquet Hall, which attracted more than 150 people, was organized as a kickoff to the formation of the cooperative. Creation of that organization, which is scheduled to be completed by next year, will qualify Polk County for millions of dollars in aid from Swiftmud to develop alternative water supplies.

Alternative water supplies are needed because the traditional source — the Floridan Aquifer — is close to reaching its sustainable limit.

The first step will be to form a committee composed of representatives from every city and town to come up with the details on how the cooperative will function and to come up with an interlocal agreement that will be subject to approval by elected officials.