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Peace River Authority wants to double water storage capacity

A regional water authority owned by Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties, which already maintains a 400-day emergency supply, intends to eventually double its storage capacity.

On Tuesday, Patrick Lehman, executive director of the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority, talked about an upcoming strategy with "three elements": "storage, storage and more storage."

Lehman spoke during a meeting in Sarasota of the governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, or Swiftmud, a funding partner of the authority on several projects.

Currently, the authority's treatment plant on the Peace River in DeSoto County can produce up to 51 million gallons per day. It provides water to the counties of Sarasota (13.66 mgd), Charlotte (11.79 mgd) and DeSoto (.97 mgd) and the city of North Port (1.5 mgd). It expects to eventually extend its 65-mile network of pipelines north to Manatee County, which may need about 5 million gallons per day as of 2034 if it does not create more sources within its borders.