OUC is continuing to remind the Orlando community to conserve water, particularly when it comes to irrigating their lawns. A regional shortage of liquid oxygen linked to the surge of COVID-19 inpatient treatments has been impacting OUC’s treated water supplies. To reduce demand for liquid oxygen, OUC is asking water customers to immediately limit irrigating their lawns and landscapes. See the graphics below for more Orlando specific information.
If OUC’s liquid oxygen supplies continue to be depleted and water usage isn’t reduced, water quality may be impacted. But, OUC believes that will not happen if the Orlando community does their part to conserve water. According to OUC, lawn/landscaping irrigation accounts for 40% of water use in Central Florida and is the most critical way to reduce water consumption locally.
OUC needs to conserve between 25-50% of what is used per day, according to their current goals. OUC is trying not to exceed 50 MGD daily until liquid oxygen supplies return to normal in Central Florida. Again, 38-40% of drinking water produced by OUC is used in lawn irrigation.
In addition to COVID-19 cases surging locally, health systems have been increasingly prescribing a treatment that relies on liquid oxygen more frequently. “While this combination has created a challenge for OUC to solve in terms of the supply shortage, we fully support vendors diverting liquid oxygen to the health systems in Central Florida as a life-saving measure,” OUC stated. OUC does not have the capability to solely use chlorine to oxidize the hydrogen sulfide in the water and maintain a chlorine residual required by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.