OUC is returning to normal water operations thanks to customers answering the call for help by reducing water demand due to a temporary shortage of liquid oxygen (LOX). While always remaining mindful of conservation practices, OUC says customers can now resume normal water use such as irrigating lawns and washing cars.
Through community support and quick operational adjustments, OUC was able to successfully navigate an unprecedented supply chain disruption without sacrificing quality. Residential and commercial customers cut back use by as much as 16% during this time when water usage hit a low of 76 million gallons per day. Customers using less water paired with internal system optimizations allowed OUC to continue providing safe, great-tasting water with limited LOX supplies. Overall, the daily system average reduced by just under 10% during this seven week time period.
“We sincerely thank our customers for their understanding. When the most recent COVID-19 wave hit our community in August, we wanted liquid oxygen supplies to go to hospitals to treat patients,” said Clint Bullock, General Manager & CEO. “Also, as the hometown utility, we wanted to ensure the clean, reliable water service our customers expect. With our community’s help in reducing the demand on our system, we were able to get through this difficult time together.”
Facing a 50% reduction in weekly LOX shipments due to a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations, OUC made the difficult decision to publicly ask customers to limit nonessential water use on August 20th. Health care facilities should always take LOX priority over utilities in dire times like these. The supply chain remained disrupted until last week when OUC finally received a full order of LOX.
OUC uses liquid oxygen as part of its water treatment process for ozone generation. Ozone is used to remove hydrogen sulfide, a naturally occurring compound that has an unpleasant odor and color, from water pumped from the Lower Floridan Aquifer.
While regular water use can now resume, OUC always encourages conservation to help customers save money and protect our precious natural resource. For local water-efficiency tips, please visit OUC.com/water.