Administrative judge to hear Polk and Manasota regional water dispute
Water war heating up as Polk Regional Water Cooperative argues 50-year permit sought by Peace River Manasota Regional Water Authority to double water it can withdraw.
BARTOW — The regional water war continues.
In the coming months, a judge from the state’s Division of Administrative Hearings will listen to the Polk Regional Water Cooperative’s argument that the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Authority should not be allowed to obtain a 50-year permit that would more than double the amount of water it can withdraw.
On June 25, Chris Tumminia, a lawyer for the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud), wrote to the chief judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings.
“The District has concerns regarding whether it conclusively appears from the face of the Petitions that the pleadings contain defects that cannot be cured,” Tumminia wrote. “However in an abundance of caution the District requests that you assign this matter to an Administrative Law Judge to conduct all necessary and formal proceedings.”
Ryan Taylor, executive director of the Polk Regional Water Cooperative, and George Lindsey, who represents Polk on the PRWC, said they hope the two sides can reach a compromise before the hearing. A date for the hearing has not been set.
The PRWC represents the county and 15 cities, including Lakeland.