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OUC Prepares for Future Water Needs with Lake Nona Water Supply Project

A peninsula with thousands of lakes, streams, springs, estuaries – and a vast underground aquifer – Florida literally has “water, water everywhere.” But could there be a day in the future when there’s “not a drop to drink” – or when the water we now access so readily from the tap might not be as available and abundant as it is today? The answer is “yes.”

With Central Florida’s population surging, the demand for safe, clean water is rising, too. OUC – The Reliable One – knows this, and they’re digging deep to prepare.

To keep pace with increasing water demand as Central Florida’s population grows, OUC’s Board of Commissioners voted on April 9th to approve a new alternative water supply project.

To be built at an existing repump station on 15 acres in Lake Nona, the 40,000-square-foot Southeast Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant is estimated to be a $125 million to $155 million investment at completion, with the initial plant design phase totaling $8.1 million.

The project is set to begin construction in November 2025 and be completed in 2033.

The Southeast Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant will drill up to 2,000 feet into the ground, allowing OUC to reach even deeper into the Lower Floridan Aquifer and access an untapped source of brackish groundwater.

Once retrieved, the water, which is more minerally concentrated at this depth, will undergo a high-pressure, microfiltration process – and then pass OUC’s rigorous treatment and testing standards – before being used as potable water.

“As Florida’s population continues to increase, so too does the demand for safe, high-quality water – so we must prepare now for our region’s future needs,” said Clint Bullock, OUC General Manager & CEO. “As Orlando’s hometown utility, we’re committed to promoting water conservation, which is key, as well as pioneering sustainable solutions. Reverse osmosis takes an innovative approach to diversifying our water supply while providing our community with safe, clean, great-tasting water for years to come.”

The Southeast Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant is just one element of an integrated approach OUC is taking to meet increased water demand. Encouraging customers to conserve water – through conservation audits, educational programs with local schools, conservation best practices, and more – remains a top priority for OUC, as a provider and as a steward of Florida’s natural resources.

Other initiatives include implementing leak detection technology to proactively identify leaks in the water distribution system and on customer properties, a block rate approach increasing the price per unit of water as consumption increases, upgrading water meters with next generation Advanced Metering Infrastructure, and encouraging participation among customers in the City of Orlando’s reclaimed water program.

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