UPDATE: The City of Winter Park has just lifted its restrictions on water use as well.
Mayor Dyer announced that the City of Orlando and its residents would be required to conserve water due to a COVID-19-caused regional shortage of liquid oxygen in late August, and that shortage has finally ended as supplies have started to increase this week.
The Orlando Utilities Commission uses liquid oxygen to remove hydrogen sulfide from our water, which naturally occurs before it is pumped out of the Lower Floridan Aquifer. The spike in patients dealing with complications caused by the Delta variant of COVID-19 caused an increasing strain on the supply of liquid oxygen across the state, which meant OUC was facing a 50 percent reduction in liquid oxygen.
Following a decline in admitted patients, the need for liquid oxygen has decreased and OUC has officially returned to normal water operations and residents can start washing their cars again without feeling guilty. If they ever really stopped in the first place – OUC estimates that the average daily consumption rate dropped by 10 percent during the seven-week call for conservation.