Echoing the call: OUC continues to ask residents to conserve water for oxygen shortage

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Utilities Commission is echoing a call they gave two weeks ago asking residents to conserve water due to a liquid oxygen shortage.

On Aug., OUC said it was seeing a short supply of liquid oxygen coming in, used to treat the city’s drinking water. However, liquid oxygen is now being used to treat COVID-19 patients in hospitals who need oxygen.

“We need about 10 trucks of liquid oxygen coming into our seven water treatment plants per week. We got down to 5,” said Tim Trudell, spokesperson for OUC, adding a boil water notice could be near if residents don’t continue to conserve. “That’s certainly something we don’t want to have happen and that’s why we came out two weeks ago asking for help.”

Trudell saying immediately, residents answered the call as water usage dropped down 10 million gallons a day, averaging 90 million gallons daily to 80 million in the first week.

“Consumption started to drop significantly,” Trudell said.

However, this week, water usage began to creep back up to 85 million gallons used daily.

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“We started to see it tick back up, so on Wednesday I think we were back at 85, and 84 yesterday,” Trudell said, echoing the call to keep conserving. “We got to keep asking because this is not a one-day thing, it’s several weeks.”

Large companies in Orlando have cut back on water usage. Lynx Transportation, for example, went from washing its more than 300 busses and vehicles from every day to every other day cutting back 50% there. A spokesperson for Lynx said the buses are cleaned inside daily.

“We all have a responsibility to help out the community when called upon. Little efforts like reducing our water use, when it will not impact anyone’s safety, is really just a small and simple way we can do our part to assist our partners during a time of need,” said Matt Friedman, Lynx Spokesperson.

Universal Resort is also cutting back on irrigation, exterior cleaning and pressure washing. Furthermore, the sprinklers were turned off at all of Universal’s on-site hotels.

“As always, we are working hard to be responsive to the needs of our community. We already have an aggressive water conservation program in place - using reclaimed water for much of our irrigation and recycled and re-purified water for our rides and pools,” said Tom Schroder, Universal Resort Spokesperson. “We have been working directly with OUC on this issue and we are significantly expanding our efforts. This will include significant reduction of exterior cleaning and watering schedules as well as a review of all our water use for opportunities to conserve even more.”

The City of Orlando is limiting its water usage at its 32 ballfields and has turned off water features at its four parks.

“We need sustained changes for several weeks to really help us,” Trudell said. “We’re hoping that the hospitalizations decrease, and we’re certainly hoping that we can get the demand lower just for the time being so that we can work together to get through this very difficult situation.”

Trudell said the number 1 way you can cut down on water usage at home is by cutting back on irrigation, which can make up for 75% of a homeowner’s water use.

For more tips on how to conserve water at home, click here.