OUC ends city water use restrictions, Orlando officials announce

Conserving water helped alleviate liquid oxygen shortage

ORLANDO, Fla.After nearly two months, the Orlando Utilities Commission is returning to normal water operations following its plea for Orlando customers to limit their water use, city officials announced Tuesday.

“It’s because each of our residences and businesses took the call to action seriously, and made another change in their daily life during the pandemic,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer at Tuesday’s news conference. “So I want to thank each and every member of our community that participated in conserving water over the past month.”

On Aug. 20, OUC and Dyer called to reduce water demand due to a citywide liquid oxygen shortage.

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“When the most recent COVID-19 wave hit our community in August, we wanted liquid oxygen supplies to go to hospitals to treat patients,” said Clint Bullock, general manager and CEO of OUC, in a Tuesday press release.

Liquid oxygen has other other important uses, Dyer added, such as removing hydrogen sulfide from drinking water, a practice the community has followed since 1995.

“As the hometown utility, we wanted to ensure the clean, reliable water service our customers expect. With our community’s help in reducing the demand on our system, we were able to get through this difficult time together,” Bullock said.

During that time, customers cut back water use as much as 16%, a percentage reflected in the 76 million gallons used per day throughout the city, the statement continued.

According to OUC, customers who practiced these measures reduced the daily system average by 10%.

At the press conference, Bullock said the action residents and businesses took was crucial to avoiding a boil water advisory.

“Now that COVID numbers have declined, liquid oxygen shipments have resumed to normal operations. And so we are here today to tell customers you can go back to normal usage, utilize irrigation appropriately, you can wash your cars and pressure washer driveways,” Bullock said.

About the Authors:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.