Some of OUC’s largest commercial customers have answered the call to limit irrigation and reduce other uses of potable water while a liquid oxygen shortage impacts our water treatment system.
Universal Orlando Resort immediately responded to OUC’s urgent request for all customers to conserve water. It eliminated general “hose-down” washes in its theme parks in favor of spot-cleaning and cut back on potable water irrigation at its properties. The theme park and resort operator mostly relies on reclaimed water for its irrigation needs.
“We are working hard to be responsive to the needs of our community,” said Universal’s spokesperson, Tom Schroder. “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. 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.”
All of Universal’s onsite hotels ─ Portofino Bay, Hard Rock Hotel, Sapphire Falls Resort, Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Dockside Inn and Suites, Surfside Inn and Suites, and Aventura Hotel ─ have turned off sprinklers that use potable water, switched to paper products in employee cafeterias to reduce dishwashing, suspended pressure washing and window washing, and are continuing to review all their water use.
On Aug. 20, 2021, OUC and the City of Orlando asked customers to limit irrigation and reduce all nonessential water use because of dwindling supplies of liquid oxygen, a vital component in OUC’s water treatment process. The supply shortage is linked to the latest resurgence of COVID-19, mainly among the unvaccinated, with hospitals using liquid oxygen in the respiratory treatments of infected patients.
Irrigation accounts for about 40% of OUC customers’ potable water usage. The request to limit irrigation does not apply to anyone using well or reclaimed water.
Another OUC commercial customer, Taylor Farms, which processes fruits, vegetables and other foods, stopped irrigating landscaping and shut down two of eight wash stations during the second shift. The cutbacks on the food-washing stations will save 3,000 gallons of water per day, or 18,000 gallons over a six-day workweek, said Jake Donnay, Director of Engineering. Night shift sanitation workers also have been instructed to turn off water hoses when they’re not in use.
LYNX, the regional transit agency, shut off potable water irrigation at its facilities and reduced its bus-washing routine by 50%, going to an every-other-day schedule for its 300-plus busses. Bus interiors are still being cleaned daily, though, added Matt Friedman, Director of Marketing. LYNX also is postponing pressure washings at its facilities and bus stops.
“We’re doing our part in these unprecedented times to help out,” said Friedman.
Other businesses that shut off irrigation at multiple locations include toll road operator Central Florida Expressway Authority, Walgreens, Dr. Phillips Property Management and JLL Property Management. Meanwhile, Nemours Children’s Hospital canceled pressure washing, window cleaning and car washing, according to Nelson Roque, Director of Campus Plans & Operations.