Tampa Bay Water Advances Seven Project Concepts to Address Region's Growing Needs

In a move to secure Tampa Bay’s water future, Tampa Bay Water’s board of directors approved the utility’s 2023 Long-term Master Water Plan, sending seven water supply project concepts for additional study. The plan forecasts the Tampa Bay region will need an additional 25 million gallons of water per day (mgd) by 2043, with 10-20 mgd of that needed by 2033.

It takes approximately 10 years to study, design, permit and build new facilities to meet the region’s growing water needs. Tampa Bay Water will move forward in procuring services for feasibility studies for the project options, except where studies were already completed:

  • Eastern Pasco Wellfield (using fresh groundwater and/or brackish water)
  • Consolidated Water Use Permit Increase
  • North Pinellas Surface Water Treatment Plant & Reservoir
  • Desalination Plant Expansion (using seawater or brackish water) – Feasibility studies for seawater desalination expansion were completed in 2021; the new study will focus on brackish groundwater expansion.
  • Surface Water Treatment Plant at the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir via Alafia Withdrawals
  • South Hillsborough Surface Water Treatment Plant & Reservoir via Little Manatee River and Bullfrog Creek Withdrawals
  • South Hillsborough Wellfield via Aquifer Recharge – Feasibility studies were completed in 2021

During feasibility studies, which will take about two years to complete, the project teams will refine potential yields, costs, permittability and further engage the community. Feasible projects will then move to the water supply selection phase, where they will be evaluated individually or in groups. Tampa Bay Water staff will recommend the next water supply project or projects for board approval by November 2027.

Alongside the studies for the seven projects, Tampa Bay Water will also evaluate potential direct and indirect potable reuse projects for future consideration as part of a developmental alternatives program. Developmental alternatives are projects that require longer feasibility studies, additional investigation or need time for regulations to be implemented. The plan also recommends continued water conservation and demand reduction.

The Long-term Master Water Plan is updated every five years to study water supply and demand over a 20-year horizon. This thorough process identifies when new supplies need to be built, considering demand forecasts, water shortage mitigation strategies and demand management, and what to build by considering new water supply projects, optimization of existing assets and facilities, where and how to deliver the water, and public input.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay Water continues design work on the 10-12.5 mgd expansion of its Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant. This was a project from the utility’s previous Long-term Master Water Plan. And the utility awarded Garney Companies, Inc., a $5.2 million contract for the pre-construction services during the design phase of the South Hillsborough Pipeline project, which will bring 65 mgd to fast-growing southern Hillsborough County. Both projects are scheduled to be online in the 2028 timeframe.