Tampa Bay Water Prepares for Warmer, Drier Weather
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Above-average rainfall in June through September means Tampa Bay Water began its 2022 fiscal year Oct. 1 with a full C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, the region’s water savings account. That’s good news because Oct. 1 is also the beginning of Florida’s fall dry season, and the seasonal weather forecast is calling warm temperatures and reduced rainfall.

Tampa Bay Water budgeted water delivery for the current fiscal year at 192.2 million gallons of water per day (mgd) for the region: 11 mgd from desalinated seawater, 66.9 mgd from surface water, and 114.3 mgd from groundwater, with 84.4 mgd coming from the wellfields within the Consolidated Permit.

But water use in October 2021 was 4.25 percent higher than October 2020, likely driven by regional growth.

In October, Tampa Bay Water delivered an average of 192.45 mgd to meet its member government demands, an increase of 7.85 mgd over the same period last year. Average groundwater production from the utility’s 13 wellfields totaled 110.73 mgd. Production from the Consolidated Permit wellfields totaled 76.84 mgd in October, and the 12-month running average withdrawal rate was 83.75 mgd through Oct. 31, 2021. Average annual water production from the South-Central Hillsborough Regional Wellfield was 23.78 mgd at the end of October 2021. Of note, Tampa Bay Water shifted more of its production from surface water to groundwater from the Consolidated Permit wellfields August through October during a liquid oxygen shortage.

While water production for the wellfields in the Consolidated Permit is well below its annual average permitted rate of 90 mgd, production from the South-Central Hillsborough Regional Wellfield is very close to exceeding its annual average limit of 24.1 mgd. Tampa Bay Water is addressing this challenge with both supply and demand management strategies to remain within permitted withdrawal quantities.

Tampa Bay Water is working closely with Hillsborough County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District to implement enhanced water conservation measures. Hillsborough County this year implemented a one-day-a-week watering restriction for its southern county residential and commercial customers.

Tampa Bay Water is also making infrastructure improvements to deliver more water to southern Hillsborough County. Among these is an option to install a temporary pumping station at the Brandon Booster Station site to accelerate delivery of 5 mgd to south-central Hillsborough ahead of the permanent Brandon Booster station completion.

“We encourage water conservation every day, but with our region continuing to grow and knowing we’re headed into a warm, dry season, we especially encourage people to make wise water choices,” said Warren Hogg, interim chief science and technical officer for Tampa Bay Water.

Rainfall Reveals Impact of Outdoor Water Use

Comparing recent rainfall to water use in South-central Hillsborough County shows just how much water is used for irrigation.

As little as 0.3 inch of rain decreased water use by 10 mgd*.

Know your watering days and water ONLY when needed. If it rains, turn off your irrigation system. Better yet, install a smart irrigation controller.

A full inch of rain drove water use down by 13 mgd.

Save up to $250 per smart irrigation controller at www.tampabaywaterwise.org.

The more rain, the less water used. More than 2 inches of rain reduced water use by more than 20 mgd.

*million gallons per day. Figures represent water delivered to South Hillsborough County and the daily pumping rate from the South-Central Hillsborough Wellfield Sept. 1 – Nov. 16, 2021.