Population — and the demand for drinking water — is growing faster in south-central Hillsborough County than anywhere else in Tampa Bay Water’s service area, and Tampa Bay Water has been working with Hillsborough County since 2016 to meet the needs of this significant growth. Ensuring south-central Hillsborough County has enough water for generations to come will require expansions to both the wholesale (Tampa Bay Water) and retail (Hillsborough County) systems.
At its August board meeting, Engineering Senior Manager Jon Kennedy outlined the current and planned Tampa Bay Water projects that aim to deliver more water to southern Hillsborough County: an expansion of the High Service Pump Station to be completed in early 2022; a new Brandon Booster Station to be completed in 2024; and a new pipeline to connect South Hillsborough County to our regional system to be completed in 2028.
Per the Master Water Supply Contract, Tampa Bay Water has responsibility to build a pipeline to supply more water from our Regional Surface Water Plant to Hillsborough County’s Lithia Water Treatment Plant. To fully support growth in south-central Hillsborough County, a separate pipeline connecting the Lithia Plant to a new wholesale point of connection in south county is also planned.
The Tampa Bay Water Board of Directors approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at its Aug. 17 board meeting to proceed with the pipeline project. The memorandum states that the two utilities will work cooperatively to save time and money on the siting, public outreach, design and construction of the pipelines. The MOU and a request for a new point of connection were approved by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners Aug. 20.
One of the biggest benefits of the MOU for Hillsborough County is the possibility of District co-funding to offset the construction costs from the Lithia facility to the new point of connection. Regional transmission mains that distribute large quantities of water from a regional water supply authority to a retail utility are eligible for up to 50 percent co-funding from the District. Tampa Bay Water will approach the District for co-funding both pipeline segments.
The next step in this project is for Hillsborough County to determine the final location of the new point of connection, and minimum and maximum flow rates and operating pressures. Then Tampa Bay Water and the County can finalize the funding agreement for the County’s share of the project. By spring/summer of 2021, we will select design engineers for this vital project.