Log in Subscribe

Peace River Water Supply Proposes Policy Model

BRADENTON – The Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority presented their future strategic plan to the Manatee County Board of Commissioners at Tuesday's meeting. Supply lines are expanding and securing water for the future will be expensive and PRMRWSA officials have a plan.

John Scheer, from Scheer Consulting, started his presentation with the PRMRWSA Mission Statement: "The Authority is to provide the region with a sufficient, high quality, safe drinking water supply that is reliable, sustainable and protective of our natural resources."

Scheer said, "Through cooperation and collaboration the Authority and its members shall create, maintain and explain a sustainable interconnected regional water supply system." PRMRWSA's partners–DeSoto, Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte –have avoided "water wars" because of the strong spirit of cooperation they share, he said.

Today, Manatee County isn't purchasing any water from PRMRWSA; in fact, Manatee County sells Sarasota County 4.4 million gallons a day (MGD), and exports 3.3 MGD to the City of Bradenton and to Longboat Key.

PRMRWSA officials claim they will be selling Manatee County water in the future, to keep up with the county's growing population. Scheer says their plan takes the region through to 2035.

Scheer works with Tampa Bay Water and other water suppliers and said the situation in other regions are not as secure as here.

Scheer suggest Manatee County needs to start becoming part on the proposed initiative that would begin with a Board Approval of the plan later this month. Then, Sheer says, they can begin addressing initiatives, incorporate them into future budgets, and schedule status reports.

Scheer predicts Manatee County will need an additional 25 MGD by 2035, and said securing water supply for future use takes a lot of preparation.

Chairwoman Betsy Benac said she felt secure with the water situation the county has now and said "We know we are going to have options."

Benac told Scheer that he probably knows how she is going to vote later this month when Scheer returns to seal the deal.

I later asked Scheer, "If it costs one dollar to retrieve 1,000 gallons, what does PRMRWSA have to charge its customers to put that thousand gallons into faucets?" His answer to that hypothetical question was, "Around five dollars."

Scheer says all of PRMRWSA's water is harvested at surface level. He said ground water (from the aquifer) is the "cheap water" and best in quality, needing less process, in most cases, than does surface water.

I mentioned Mosaic mining is moving further into DeSoto county to mine more than 30,000 additional acres, and that they currently take 60 MGD of ground water for their operations. I asked how that affects PRMRWSA's operations. Scheer said he wasn't sure.

It appears Manatee County also gets the bulk of its water supply from surface water as well. How that factors in is also a question to ask considering Mosaic is attempting to mine an additional 14,000 acres in Manatee County, with a 25 year contract, taking the county's water far beyond the 2035 mark.


No comments on this item

Only paid subscribers can comment
Please log in to comment by clicking here.