Polk utility officials are asking home owners in Christina, Hallam Woods, Imperial Lakes and nearby neighborhoods to reduce use of reclaimed water for lawn sprinkling, warning they may be forced to shut the system or reduce to one day a week. 

If the system is shut down, residents will be able to use lawn hoses for irrigation, but will be charged at the higher rate charged for potable water, county officials said in a news release sent this afternoon.

Here is the text of the release:

Due to the extreme drought, and recent spikes in outdoor watering usage, Polk County Utilities is currently unable to produce reclaimed water fast enough to meet demand in the Southwest Region of the county. We are requesting that the nearly 3,400 customers in this service area do what they can to conserve reclaimed water to allow for storage recovery. If the drought continues and storage recovery efforts are not effective, we may have to go to a modified reclaimed water operational schedule of one day a week watering, to increase storage recovery.  Customers affected were notified by AlertPolk, the county’s emergency notification system.

The reclaimed water area is west of US 98 to County Line Road, and south of CR 540A. Subdivisions affected include Christina, Hallam Preserve and Imperial Lakes. Many commercial Utilities customers have already been asked to restrict their reclaimed water use.

This does not affect potable (drinking) water.

“We regret the inconvenience that this might cause for our customers,” said Utilities Director Marjorie Craig. “With the lack of rain and higher-than-normal temperatures, lawns are much drier than usual. This week, reclaimed water usage has been about 50 percent more than we are able to produce, drawing down our water storage levels.”

So far, only Polk County Utilities’ Southwest region is affected.

The Southwest Regional Reclaimed Water system may be shut down during non-watering times to allow for storage level recovery. Customers may use potable water from their garden hose for outdoor watering; however, they will be billed at the higher potable water rate.

“We appreciate our customer’s patience and cooperation during this extreme weather-related event,” Craig said.

If customers have questions, please call Polk County Utilities at 298-4100, or visit our website at polk-county.net, where more watering information is posted.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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