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District, Panama City Beach complete alternative water supply project

PANAMA CITY BEACH - The city of Panama City Beach and the Northwest Florida Water Management District celebrated the completion of the Panama City Beach Parkway Reuse Transmission System during a special ceremony Thursday.

Officials from both agencies met at Panama City Beach’s City Hall to announce the completion of the project, which will provide access to reclaimed water for residential, commercial, recreational, and other landscape irrigation needs.

“The use of reclaimed water allows for residents and businesses and even sports complexes to continue to water their lawns while reducing the withdrawals of potable, or drinking, water,” said George Roberts, Chairman of the District’s Governing Board who also represents Bay County. “The District fully supports Gov. DeSantis’ commitment to identifying and funding alternative water supply projects throughout northwest Florida that will help to protect the precious natural resources in our area.”

The City provided $1,262,900 for the project, which was completed last month. The District, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection, provided $544,900 in grant funding for the project under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Alternative Water Supply grant program.

“This project shows the importance of pursuing alternative water supply sources in our area,” said Sen. George Gainer, whose district includes Panama City Beach. “Preserving and protecting our drinking water while still meeting the needs of our community is exactly why the Florida legislature and Gov. DeSantis have worked together to fund these types of projects.”

The Parkway Reuse Transmission System will provide access to reclaimed water to more than 200 existing connections and more than 1,500 new connections. The project will also provide as much as 400,000 gallons of reclaimed water per day for the Publix Sports Park complex – a county facility which features fields for football, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey.

“While this is a project implemented by Panama City Beach through a partnership with DEP and the water management district, it will positively impact our whole community,” said Rep. Jay Trumbull, whose district includes Panama City Beach. “I appreciate the leadership not just from Panama City Beach and the water management district, but from the project managers and engineers and scientists who worked to bring this project to completion.”

The Parkway Reuse Transmission System project called for the design and construction of approximately 7,350 linear feet of 20-inch PVC reclaimed water pipeline and appurtenant structures along U.S. Highway 98 (Panama City Beach Parkway) from North Glades Trail to Chip Seal Parkway.

“The city leaders from Panama City Beach deserve a lot of credit for innovative thinking to bring this project forward and manage it to completion,” said Nick Patronis, a member of the District’s Governing Board who represents Bay County. “The ability to provide water for irrigation without withdrawing potable water is a smart and sensible solution.”

Panama City Beach Mayor Mark Sheldon said the water conservation project is another example of the long-standing partnership and collaboration between the city, the state, and the District.

“All three partners are also working on septic tank elimination efforts in unincorporated portions of the City of Panama City Beach’s utilities franchise area,” Mayor Sheldon said. “The nearly complete Beach Drive utilities improvement project includes additional sewer service to areas south of Grand Lagoon and north of Beach Drive thanks to a grant from the Northwest Florida Water Management District. An upcoming septic tank elimination program planned for a portion of the Laguna Beach area received a $3 million grant from the State of Florida. This partnership is sincere in conserving and protecting our area’s priceless water resources."