Water permit delayed after Polk files petition
BARTOW — A vote to approve a 50-year permit that would more than double the amount of water the Manasota regional water authority can withdraw has been delayed.
Officials with the Southwest Water Management District said the May 22 vote by the governing board was suspended after the Polk Regional Water Cooperative and the cities of Lakeland and Winter Haven filed a petition challenging the permit.
The regional water authority owned by Manatee, Charlotte, DeSoto and Sarasota counties wants to increase the amount of water it withdraws from 120 million gallons to 258 million gallons per day. Polk officials fear the permit increase, and its requested 50-year term, would make it harder for Polk County municipalities to take from the same source in the future.
Polk officials have said they weren’t aware of the permit until it came up during a Southwest Florida Management District meeting in late February when Manasota officials made a presentation about building a reservoir. Swiftmud received the permit application Oct. 2.