Unanswered Questions About $600m+ Polk Water Project

Member municipalities/towns of the Polk Regional Water Cooperative need to rethink their $600million plan and $23million “study” to understand it.

By Jacob Engels

Projected to cost almost three quarters of a billion dollars, a newly formed “collective” has big plans and a big cost for Polk County taxpayers.

The PRWC, or Polk Regional Water Cooperative, wants an expansion of water lines and several new water facilities to serve residents in over 15 municipalities or towns across the county.

They claim the area is facing huge water deficits in the next 20 years, though independent sources have been unable to verify how they reached those calculations.

The Water Cooperative had a full vote on the first phase of that plan Tuesday morning, after a select committee evaluated potential vendors last week and formed a recommendation to be voted on in full.

That first phase will not include any actual tangible progress, just a “study” to asses what should actually be done.

It will cost north of $23 million, half divided up among member cities of the PRWC and the remainder from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

The study, if approved, would take three years and be followed by the $600million+ second phase. The City of Lakeland is acting as the broker for the project and has been involved in the RFP (request for funding) process.

For almost every municipality aligned with the Water Cooperative, that means a new budget item that could negatively impact their residents through annual fees and tax increases.

Monthly water bills will increase by a yet to be determined amount, which the Central Florida Post is currently working on calculating.

Before cities and municipalities aligned with the Polk Regional Water Collective cut any checks for this “study”, Polk County residents should be allowed to review the proposals and give their input on which one is the best deal for taxpayers.

Did political favoritism or cronyism play a role in how “Team Number One” won the bid for the $23milllion study? Does $23million really need to be spent to find a solution for the water shortfalls the Water Cooperative says will face Polk County?

We are currently awaiting a public records request to find out who “Team Number One” is and what their plans entail for Polk County residents.

Is the science behind the $600million+ project just junk science touted by bureaucrats who are always eager to spend, spend, spend or blatant political cronyism.

Local resident David Gore voiced his concerns at last month’s meeting of the PRWC, imploring the group to find a better solution.

“The project is not based on sound science and they are not based on prudence.”

Gore went on to slam the $300 million cost-share from Polk County and cities/municipalities within the area, worrying that politics was playing a large role in the hasty push to start utilizing taxpayer funds.

“It will be $300million down the drain.”

The Central Florida Post is also working to attain the proposals from the top three firms who presented to the PRWC.

We will continue our coverage when we have had time to review those documents and provide more insight.


Jacob Engels is an Orlando based journalist whose work has been featured and republished in news outlets around the globe including Politico, InfoWars, MSNBC, Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Daily Mail UK, Associated Press, People Magazine, ABC, and Fox News to name a few. Mr. Engels focuses on stories that other news outlets neglect or willingly hide to curry favor among the political and business special interests in the state of Florida.