Tampa Bay Water’s system is unique in that it combines groundwater, desalinated seawater and river water. These different sources allow the utility to operate in sync with the weather—something all Floridians can—and do—practice at home.
During dry times, Tampa Bay Water relies more on groundwater, stored surface water and desalinated seawater to meet the region’s water needs. (While the regional reservoir is being renovated, groundwater and desalinated seawater supply the region during dry times.) November 2012 through March 2013 were exceptionally dry. In fact, the Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant was offline from February to mid-June due to dwindling river flows. However, with cooler temperatures and tighter water restrictions, residents used less water.
Our region received plentiful rains in May and June, which replenished river flows and Tampa Bay Water was able to restart its surface water treatment plant. Over the next few months, we’ll tap our river supplies and let Mother Nature replenish our underground reservoir—the Floridan Aquifer.
Residents can be more in sync with our region’s weather by installing rain shut-off devices on their irrigation systems, so water isn’t wasted on an already soggy lawn. Planting Florida-friendly turf grass, shrubs and plants is another way to live in harmony with Florida’s weather—native plants that require less water will thrive throughout the year.