Lightning in a Bottle

A Documentary on Tampa Bay's Greatest Environmental Success Story

Tampa Bay Water's 25th anniversary is a moment to honor the elected officials, utility directors and city and county administrators who envisioned a regional solution and worked to make that vision a reality.

Unless you have lived here for decades, it’s hard to imagine the water wars that plagued the Tampa Bay region in the 1990s. Our region relied solely on groundwater from wellfields, but increasing demand driven by population growth as well as severe drought and development caused water levels in lakes and wetlands to drop, damaging the environment and threatening our quality of life and our economic future. Local governments spent millions fighting lawsuits against each other before forward-looking public officials agreed to work together to find a solution that would be fair to everyone.

Two years of negotiations led to the creation of Tampa Bay Water in 1998. Watch our documentary to learn about the problem, the pressures and the people that worked together to catch Lightning in a Bottle, creating a regional solution and writing Tampa Bay's greatest environmental success story that has benefited our region for the past 25 years.

Trailer: "Lightning in a Bottle"

The Problem

Water Wars

The Vision



Lightning in a Bottle Panel Discussion