Manatee County to continue to provide potable water to Sarasota County through at least March 31, 2028

Smaller annual purchases possible through March 31, 2038

This is the chart showing water demand projections for Sarasota County through 2044. It was presented to the commissioners on Dec. 13, 2022. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Earlier this year, Mike Mylett, director of Sarasota County’s Public Utilities Department, told the county commissioners he believed he and his staff were close to a successful conclusion of negotiations with Manatee County staff for an extension of the contract for potable water that Manatee provides to Sarasota County.

His optimism was justified, it has turned out.

The termination of the Manatee County agreement, which dates to Oct. 7 2003, had been set for March 31, 2025, as Mylett noted in a staff memo included in the agenda packet for the board’s regular meeting on Sept. 12.

In approving their Consent Agenda of routine business items on Sept. 12, the Sarasota County commissioners approved an extension of that agreement through March 31, 2028.

Moreover, Mylett pointed out in the memo, the agreement “allows for the potential to purchase up to 0.5 million gallons per day of water from Manatee County to maintain water quality through March 31, 2038.” However, he added, “A provision would allow Manatee County to terminate the agreement early by providing 18 months’ notice, should they need the reserved capacity to serve their customers.”

As The Sarasota News Leader has reported, in 2022, Sarasota County received 19% of its potable water supply from Manatee County. In 2021, county staff has reported, 18% of the potable water supply came from Manatee County.

The bulk of the water comes from the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority, which draws water from the Peace River during times of heavy flow and stores it in reservoirs and an aquifer recovery system. Sarasota County gets an average of up to 15.06 million gallons a day from the Authority, according to a December 2022 report.

The memo in the board packet for the Sept. 12 meeting included these details about the amount of water Sarasota County is buying and will be able to continue to purchase from Manatee County:

  • April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2025 – maximum daily Reserve Capacity of 5 million gallons per day (MGD);
  • April 1, 2025 through March 31, 2026 – maximum daily Reserve Capacity 4 MGD;
  • April 1, 2026 through March 31, 2028 – maximum daily Reserve Capacity 3 MGD;
  • April 1, 2028 through March 31, 2038 – maximum daily Reserve Capacity 0.5 MGD.

In a formal report provided to the Sarasota County Commission in December 2022, as required by the agreement with the Peace River Authority, the Public Utilities staff noted that the county would need additional water supplies by 2030 “to meet future demands.” That information was predicated on the pending termination of the Manatee County contract.

The report pointed out that the annual average daily flow (AADF) of water demanded by Sarasota County residents in 2022 was 25.26 million gallons a day (MGD). By 2030, the AADF is expected to be 27.34 MGD. Then, by 2044 the anticipated figure is 30.98 MGD.

In December 2020, the Public Utilities staff told the commissioners, the AADF for 2022 was projected to be 24.5 MGD. That nearly three-year-old chart put the 2030 demand at 26.58 MGD.