Long-term Master Water Plan Update Nearly Complete

At an August workshop for the Tampa Bay Water board of directors, Tampa Bay Water staff previewed the initial results of four years of detailed analyses that composes the agency’s Long-term Master Water Plan. The plan includes several evaluations that help determine how much new water is needed by the member governments, when it is needed and how the agency can meet that new demand. 

Conservation & Optimization Can Delay New Supply Development

Updated conservation and facility analyses show that Tampa Bay Water and its members could delay the need for new water supplies until after 2030 through active conservation and facility improvements.

Current projections show Tampa Bay Water’s member governments will need approximately 10 million gallons per day of new supply in the 2028 timeframe and an additional 10 million gallons per day in the 2035 timeframe. However, Tampa Bay Water has identified efficiency and conservation initiatives that the members could implement to save at least 6 million gallons per day by 2025 and a total of 11 million gallons per day by 2030. Those conservation measures would cost less than $0.40 per 1000 gallons to delay the need for new water supplies. In October, the agency will apply for a block grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District for cofounding of the identified conservation measures. Tampa Bay Water will work with its members to determine how to allocate and spend funds to achieve the savings and help delay capacity development.

Upgrading existing facilities to yield more water could also delay capacity development by 5-10 years.  For example, the Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant could provide an additional 5 million gallons per day annual average by re-rating the filtration capacity and existing processes. Upgrades and enhancements at the desalination plant could yield similar results.

Planning Today for Water Tomorrow

Even with conservation and facility upgrades, the region will need additional water at some point in the future, so Tampa Bay Water has analyzed potential new projects to bolster our regional drinking water supply. The preliminary ranking of project configurations show four main water supply projects that could, in combination, meet future demand:

  • New Groundwater Treatment Plant with South-Hillsborough Aquifer Recharge Project credits
  • Tampa Bay Surface Water Treatment Plant Expansion with existing sources
  • Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant Expansion
  • Tampa Bay Surface Water Treatment Plant Expansion with water from Tampa Augmentation Project.

Next Steps

Over the next four months, Tampa Bay Water will finalize its Long-term Master Water Plan and present the completed plan in December to its board of directors for approval. The agency anticipates asking the board to approve a short-list of potential new supply projects for further study to meet demand, when needed.