The City of Orlando is asking residents to reduce water consumption due to COVID-19.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) held a news conference asking residents to stop watering their lawns and washing their cars for at least a week.
Mayor Dyer said Friday that water usage needed to be cut back because of the recent surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations.
OUC treats Orlando’s water with liquid oxygen and supplies that ordinarily go toward water treatment have been diverted to hospitals for patients suffering from the virus.
“It’s another result what happens when residents don’t get vaccinated and become critically ill and are in need of dire medical support and treatment,” Mayor Dyer said. “If you haven’t been vaccinated, now is the time.”
Dyer explained that many COVID-19 patients require liquid oxygen for their treatment, helping them breathe easier.
OUC has used the same liquid oxygen to treat the water supply for years. The process is called ozonation. Liquid oxygen takes away the contaminants and the sulfur smell.
Nationally and locally the demand for liquid oxygen is high as COVID-19 has surged and many have not been vaccinated.
Dyer said there could be impacts to Orlando’s water quality if the city doesn’t reduce the amount of water we need to treat.
“We’re trying to get out ahead of this,” he said.
“I know our community, working together, can overcome this,” Dyer said. “We always come together when faced with adversity and I know that we will unite to be part of this effort.”
OUC stated that the city typically gets 10 containers of liquid oxygen per week and that number has been reduced to about half during the shortage.
If the shortage due to COVID-19 gets even worse, that could lead to a citywide boil order.