The Polk Regional Water Cooperative will consider borrowing $23 million when it meets Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Lake Myrtle Complex in Auburndale.
The money will go for a variety of projects that will occur over the next four years to investigate plans to tap the Lower Floridan Aquifer as a possible alternative water supply now that water managers have admitted that we have finally reached the Upper Floridan Aquifer’s sustainable yield.
The cooperative is also scheduled to hire a consultant to implement the work. The top-ranked company is an entity known as Team 1. One of the principals is Robert Beltran, a Lakeland consultant and former executive director of the SWFWMD, according to the Winter Haven Sun.
Well sites are in southeast Polk and at the edge of the Green Swamp.
Some of the questions the research will address will include:
–What kind of water quality and how much treatment will be required to make it potable?
–How productive will be wells be to supply water needs?
–What is the best design for deep injection wells to get rid of the treatment waste?
–What is the best design for pipelines to route water from these remote well sites to public utility distribution systems?
–How will the project affect water rates?
The consultant will also hold a series of public meetings during the course of research.
Meanwhile, the Southwest Florida Water Management District has been drilling other exploratory wells in eastern Polk to gather more data on this portion of the aquifer.
In addition to the two well studies, work will also examine whether storing more water along the Peace Creek Canal can be used to justify increased water-use permits from Winter Haven for future growth based on claims of increased aquifer recharge.
This is the “Sapphire Necklace” project that was originally hyped as an environmental restoration project.