Abundant rainfall from last summer coupled with a very wet November 2022 helped Tampa Bay Water begin its fiscal year 2023 (October 2022 to September 2023) with a full reservoir and the ability to use more surface water to meet demand. From Oct. 1, 2022, to the end of January, Tampa Bay Water delivered an average of 184.79 million gallons per day (mgd). That’s 1.07 mgd, or 0.6% more water than was delivered over the same period last year.
Even with this increase, Tampa Bay Water has sustainably met demand while protecting the environment, with 51% of the water delivered coming from groundwater, 44% from surface water and 5% from desalinated seawater for the first four months of the fiscal year. Groundwater levels in January 2023 were generally 1.7 feet higher than in January 2022, and average water levels in 10 indicator lakes and wetlands were about 6.3 inches higher over the same period.
The 12-month running average pumping rate from the Consolidated Permit Wellfields through Jan. 31, 2023, was 75.62 mgd, well under the permitted 90 mgd annual average limit. The 12-month running average rate for the South-Central Hillsborough Regional Wellfield through Jan. 31 was 25.13 mgd, 0.2 mgd above the permitted annual average of 24.95. The utility expects to be close to the regulatory limit until summer 2023, when the permanent Brandon Booster Station is brought online.
Since August 2022, the temporary pumps at the Brandon Booster Station have sent an additional 5.5-6 mgd to southern Hillsborough County, helping lessen demand on the South-Central Wellfield from September 2022 through January 2023.
Our region has been experiencing a La Nina climate condition for the past three years, meaning the winter months have been warmer and drier. Beginning this summer, the climate conditions are expected to transition into an El Nino condition, which is predicted to bring cooler and wetter winters, lessen hurricane formation and bring fewer hurricanes of large magnitude.
Even with a full reservoir and higher river flows, it’s still important to use water judiciously. Make sure you know your watering days and follow your local watering restrictions: