Leveraging Water for Peace - Tampa Bay Water Commemorates World Water Day with Screening of “Lightning in a Bottle”
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News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: RaeChelle Davis
(619) 438-4318

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 22, 2024) - In a poignant tribute to World Water Day, Florida Humanities proudly presented an exclusive screening of Tampa Bay Water’s documentary "Lightning in a Bottle" on March 22, 2024, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The event took place at the St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 2nd Ave. NE.

"Lightning in a Bottle" focuses on an important chapter in Tampa Bay’s history, exploring the region’s 1990s-era “water wars” and spotlighting the challenges, collaborative efforts, and innovative solutions that established Tampa Bay Water—a regional water utility and beacon of environmental achievement. This documentary delves into the complexities of the era, showcasing how local governments overcame adversity and united to address the region's water conflicts 25 years ago. Against a backdrop of divergent interests, local and state officials joined forces to craft a regional solution, shaping Tampa Bay's greatest environmental success story to date.

"‘Lightning in a Bottle’ isn’t just a documentary; it’s a testament to the resilience and unity of our community,” said Tampa Bay Water General Manager Chuck Carden. “It illustrates how, in the face of adversity, we can put aside our differences and forge sustainable solutions for the greater good.”

The screening was followed by an engaging panel discussion featuring esteemed experts intimately involved in the region’s water management landscape. Among the panelists were Tampa Bay Water Board Member and City of St. Petersburg Councilmember Lisset Hanewicz; former Hillsborough County Commissioner and Tampa Bay Water Board Member Ed Turanchik; and former Pinellas County Commissioner and Tampa Bay Water Board Member Steve Seibert.

Dr. Christopher Meindl, Director of the Florida Studies Program at the University of South Florida, moderated the discussion, which ranged from a retrospective exploration of Tampa Bay Water’s profound historical significance to its role in regional prosperity and how the utility is planning for the future.

“We’re celebrating World Water Day amongst a lot of things but especially Tampa Bay Water’s creation 25 years ago,” said Chuck Carden, General Manager of Tampa Bay Water. “We hope people will take interest and watch this documentary because it explains a very complicated issue and something everyone needs for life, water.”

“It’s fascinating to see where it started to where it is now and how much this area has flourished because of Tampa Bay Water,” said Tampa Bay Water Board Member and St. Pete City Council Member Lisset Hanewicz.

Former Pinellas County Commissioner and Tampa Bay Water Founding Member Steve Seibert concluded, “To be able to address an emergency - you know a water emergency because you have a structure in place that has survived for 25 years during difficult times that’s pretty special. It means everything. To me as a participant that’s what we hoped would happen. We dreamt of creating something that would function exactly the way Tampa Bay Water has functioned.”

The event, which drew diverse stakeholders, scholars, and concerned citizens, underscored the enduring relevance of Tampa Bay Water’s saga as a source of inspiration and guidance in navigating contemporary environmental challenges.

About Tampa Bay Water

Tampa Bay Water is the largest wholesale water supplier in Florida, providing high-quality drinking water to its members, who in turn, supply water to more than 2.5 million residents of the Tampa Bay area. Tampa Bay Water member governments include Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties and the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa. To learn more, visit tampabaywater.org.

About Florida Humanities

Florida Humanities, the statewide, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is dedicated to preserving, promoting, and sharing the history, literature, cultures, and personal stories that offer Floridians a better understanding of themselves, their communities, and their state. Since 1973, Florida Humanities has awarded more than $20 million in support of statewide cultural resources and public programs strongly rooted in the humanities. These programs preserve Florida’s diverse history and heritage, promote civic engagement and community dialogue, and provide opportunities to reflect on the future of Florida. Learn more at www.floridahumanities.org and follow on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and X.