Covid Water Crisis: Orlando Urges Residents To Conserve Water Amid Liquid Oxygen Shortage

Officials in Orlando, Florida asked residents to stop taking showers and watering their cars Friday because the city is running low on liquid oxygen. This is because the area's hospitals are using large amounts of the liquid oxygen to treat Covid-19 patients.

Officials in Orlando are asking residents not to water their lawns or take shorter showers due to an oxygen shortage. This is in response to an increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations. getty

The Key Facts

Orange County residents (population: 1.13 million) were asked to reduce their water consumption immediately to help preserve the region's liquid oxygen supply. According to the Orlando Utilities Commission, it is receiving only half its normal supply of liquid oxygen because the priority has been given to treating the increasing number of Covid-19 hospitalizations. AdventHealth, central Florida's largest health care provider, stated that hospitals are facing a "crisis of unprecedented proportions" with more than twice the number of Covid patients since the winter surge. Supplemental oxygen is the most common treatment for severe Covid cases. Some medical facilities prefer to use liquid oxygen because it is easier to transport and can be stored in greater volumes. Orlando prefers liquid oxygen to purify his water because it removes hydrogen sulfuride, which can give water the strong smell of rotten eggs.

What to Watch

Orlando Utilities Commission aims to reduce its daily water consumption by reducing the flow rate from 90 million gallons per hour to 50 million gallons per hour. If water consumption is not decreased and liquid oxygen is in short supply, then the water supply could be affected, potentially requiring a boil water advisory to remain in effect for an indefinite period.

Important Background

According to the New York Times tracker, Florida is the state that produces the highest number of Covid cases in the U.S., adding almost 24,000 new cases each day. Central Florida is one of the most affected areas. Dr. Vincent Hsu, an AdventHealth epidemiologist, said that the ICUs of the region are overwhelmed and that intensive care is being provided outside of ICU beds. Hsu stated that hospitals are now using rooms used for short medical procedures to house patients, as the regular rooms are full. Florida has seen record numbers of deaths, hospitalizations, and covid cases.


The number of new cases in India rose to around 400,000 per day during the spring after the discovery of the delta variant. As doctors tried to care for the increasing number of patients, hospitals flooded in cities like Delhi. As part of a $100 million aid package, the U.S. sent thousands of oxygen tanks to India.

Big Number

40% According to the Orlando Utilities Commission this is how much water goes to landscaping irrigation and lawn care in Orlando. However, Orlando's summer rainfall is usually more than enough to water the lawns.

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Orlando mayor urges residents to conserve water immediately because of the liquid oxygen shortage (WESH TV)

U.S. U.S. Promises to Send Critical Oxygen Supplies to Covid-Ravaged India

"A crisis": Central Florida's COVID-19 hospitalizations are putting increasing strain on the health care system (WESH TV).

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