New pipelines shore up region’s water supply coverage
Twenty-five years ago, when they acquired General Development Utilities' water treatment plant on the Peace River, the counties of Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte stepped up their long-range effort to connect their water systems.
Hundreds of miles of pipelines throughout the region are now linked, with more to come.
On Wednesday, the board of the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority — which is comprised of a county commissioner from each member county — received updates on more than $82 million in projects that will extend pipelines throughout the area by another almost 30 miles.
By forming its partnership and making such connections, the authority has ensured a shared and diverse portfolio of water sources for the region to tap into, a combination of reservoirs, wellfields and aquifer storage systems. Their pact has enabled them to avoid the political feuds over water rights that have occurred elsewhere in the nation.
Most importantly, their network of linked pipelines and the authority's underground storage of 6 billion gallons that can be available during dry seasons provides backup supplies during times of drought. And those interconnections could also be essential in emergencies, such as when authority customer North Port provided water to Charlotte during the aftermath of Hurricane Charley.