County obtains less drinking water from Peace River Authority in 2022, with more coming from Carlton facility

Annual report breaks down water source data

This graphic, included in the Jan. 18, 2023 presentation to the County Commission of the State of the Utility Report for Sarasota County, shows that the potable water supplies meet all standards. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Sarasota County Government continued to obtain the vast majority of its drinking water — 62% — from the Peace River Manasota Water Supply Authority in 2022, the latest county update shows.

As the Authority explains on its website, “[W]e supply 26 million gallons of water per day (MGD) to our members who then provide high-quality drinking water to their customers.”

Along with Sarasota County, those members are Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties.

“We also have connections to other water systems for emergency situations. These include the City of North Port, the City of Punta Gorda and Englewood Water District,” the Authority notes.

“[O]ur treatment Facility on the Peace River is surrounded by reservoirs — both traditional above-ground reservoirs as well as ASR [an aquifer storage and recovery system],” the Authority explains. “Together, these can hold up to 13 billion gallons of water, more than enough to meet our customer’s needs, even during the colder dry months with little rain.”

The Authority adds, “Withdrawing water when the river is running high and storing it in reservoirs protects both the Peace River itself and also its connected estuaries and Charlotte Harbor. We store watertreat it and send it to our member governments.”

In March, Mike Mylett, director of the county’s Public Utilities Department, told the county commissioners that the cost of the water the county purchases from the Authority was going up 9% this fiscal year, for a total of approximately $22.3 million.

In 2022, the Sarasota County report says, another 19% of the potable water came from Manatee County, which draws its supply from the Manatee River and also from the Floridan Aquifer.

The contract with Manatee County is due to expire in April 2025. However, Mylett told the commissioners earlier this year that he believed he and his staff had worked out an agreement with the Manatee officials to extend that another couple of years.

With improvements taking place at Sarasota County’s T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Water Treatment Facility in South County, 16% of the water supply came from that source, the 2022 report said.

A county memo provided to the commissioners in late 2022 said that the second phase of that project was expected to get underway this spring. After completion, the Carlton Facility’s capacity will rise from 12 million gallons a day to 15 mgd, the memo added.

This graphic in the 2023 State of the Utility Report explains details about the work at the Carlton Facility. Image courtesy Sarasota County

In a July update, county staff reported that the project was 82% complete, with the work expected to be finished in September.

As Public Utilities points out on its webpages, the Carlton Facility off Border Road in Venice has 16 wells located on the Carlton Memorial Reserve. They range from 400 to 700 feet in depth.

Finally, the county received 3% of its potable water in 2022 from a combination of seven University Parkway wellfields, which also draw water from the Floridan Aquifer, and the Jacaranda Water Treatment Facility in South County, which has seven wells, too.

In 2021, 65% of Sarasota County’s drinking water came from the Peace River Authority, while 18% was purchased from Manatee County, that report noted. Another 14% came from the Carlton Facility, while 3% came from the University Parkway and Jacaranda wellfields.

With the work underway on the Carlton plant in 2020, the county was unable to use it to produce any of the potable water supply. Thus, 76% of the drinking water for customers that year came from the Peace River Authority, while 20% came from Manatee County and 4% from the University Parkway and Jacaranda wellfields.

This graphic in the 2023 report offers details about the county’s water system. Image courtesy Sarasota County