The Orlando Utilities Commission renewed its call to action going into Labor Day weekend, urging customers in its service area to reduce their use of water.

What You Need To Know

Because of a shortage in liquid oxygen to treat people in the hospitals fighting COVID-19, OUC is asking its customers not to turn on the water so that liquid oxygen used to treat it can go toward the hospitals instead. 

With the long holiday weekend, it can be easy to try and beat the heat by turning on the sprinklers for children to cool off. But OUC is asking customers to keep faucets turned off, asking customers not to use as much water to help out the hospitals.

OUC first put out the warning August 20th, calling on customers to stop watering lawns and landscaping to reduce their water usage. 

At first it worked, dropping from the typical 90-million gallons a day to 79-million gallons a day at one point. But lately, that's gone back up and if it stays up, it could impact everyone’s water quality.

OUC says there’s a regional shortage of liquid oxygen happening now because it’s needed for people being treated in hospitals for COVID-19. They’re getting about 30 percent less liquid oxygen than normal, so they need to see water conservation continue.

“We certainly understand, the oxygen needs to go to the people in hospitals who are really sick. Hospitals, healthcare systems really need the liquid oxygen. We completely understand the need in the healthcare system, we’re just asking our customers to help us, help them,” said Tim Trudell, OUC Spokesperson. 

To make sure they can help the hospitals out that need the supply, OUC says customers need to significantly decrease their usage for at least the next two to four weeks.

And one of the best ways you can cut back at home is by leaving any sprinklers or landscaping equipment off, leaving the watering instead to Mother Nature. OUC says irrigation makes up about 40 percent of water usage overall in central Florida. ​

Palmer Garden and Goods is a business that relies heavily on water.

However, its owner, Allison Palmer, says Mother Nature has helped them contribute to OUC’s call.

Plus, Palmer is a pro when it comes to knowing when to spray, and when to shut off the spigot.

“One thing that we’re doing here is we’re spot watering, as opposed to watering the whole garden center. So right now during the day, we’ll go around and we’ll just water the plants that need water," said Palmer.

She’s watching her hoses closely, due to the call from the Orlando Utilities Commission.

“Irrigation is about 40% of our demand. So if we can knock that irrigation down, then we can make a real difference in consumption," said Tim Trudell, communications director for OUC.

“At the same time, we’re trying to source as much liquid oxygen as we can due to a limited supply because of the increase in hospitalizations."

For Palmer, it’s a win-win - keeping plants healthy and hopefully helping COVID-19 patients get healthy along the way.

“Oh, it feels good. I mean, everybody’s got to do their part. We all have responsibility to help one another," said Palmer.