Current Drought Conditions Improving; Conservation Still Needed
Conservation, | | Return

Cooler weather, return-to-normal rainfall and once-weekly watering restrictions have helped the region save 33 million gallons of water per day since mid-November. Kudos to tri-county residents for conserving water!

“This is a stunning achievement for our region,” said Warren Hogg, P.G., chief science officer at Tampa Bay Water. “With the dry season beginning and warmer weather expected to increase demand, we ask that residents continue to conserve water. We’re not out of the woods yet.”

That’s because the region is still in a Stage 1 Drought Alert condition. Recent rains have been sufficient to bring the region out of a river flow deficit but not enough to bring us out of a rainfall deficit. To enter a Stage 1 condition, the region must experience a rainfall deficit of 5 inches or a 10-million-gallon-per-day (mgd) river flow deficit. To exit a Stage 1 condition, the rainfall deficit must be 0 inches with a river flow deficit no greater than 5 mgd. As of March 31, the rainfall deficit was 1.5 inches, and the river flow deficit was 0.8 mgd.

With regular rainfall, Tampa Bay Water has been able to add water to the regional reservoir; levels are almost where they normally would be at this time of year. The 12-month running average withdrawal rate for the Consolidated Permit Wellfields was 87.14 mgd at the end of March, under the 90 mgd permitted limit. The 12-month running average for the South-Central Hillsborough Regional Wellfield was 26.6 mgd at the end of March, down 0.75 mgd over the previous month, but still above the permitted limit of 24.95 mgd.

“As we get into rainy summer months, we anticipate coming out of the drought, but this is no time to relax,” Hogg said. “We need everyone to continue conserving water.”