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Planning Board Okays Bradenton Reclaimed Water Sales

Manatee County should take steps to allow Bradenton to supply reclaimed water for irrigation in a portion of the Braden River watershed, a county advisory board said Thursday.
The Manatee County Planning Commission recommended seeking state review and approval to amend the county's comprehensive plan, which now bans using treated wastewater in watersheds that protect drinking-water sources.
Bradenton wants the ban lifted so it can provide up to 4.5 million gallons of reclaimed water daily to Lakewood Ranch and other areas within the Braden River watershed. The city draws its drinking water from the Braden River, but discharges its excess reclaimed water into the Manatee River.
"We believe it is in the public interest to make this change," said Claude Tankersley, the city's public works director. "Right now, we're taking water, using it, and then basically throwing it away."
But critics, including two advisory board members, questioned whether the change...