Rainfall Deficit Calls for Conservation Measures
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News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brandon Moore
(727) 791-2304 | (727) 470-0702

CLEARWATER, Fla. (Oct. 2, 2023) – Tampa Bay Water has sufficient drinking water supplies to serve the region; however, the Tampa Bay region is now in a Stage 1 water shortage due to below-average regional rainfall on a 12-month rolling average. The Stage 1 shortage is declared under the regional Water Shortage Mitigation Plan, Tampa Bay Water’s supply management plan to proactively mitigate water supply shortages driven by prolonged, below-normal hydrologic conditions.

The region enters a Stage 1 water shortage when the rainfall deficit is more than 5 inches. Regional rainfall totals averaged 8.3 inches below normal over the past 12 months.

Tampa Bay Water’s diverse water supply system is built to withstand dry conditions with the use of the regional reservoir and seawater desalination plant. Tampa Bay Water’s C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, the region’s water savings account, is nearly full at 14 billion gallons of its 15.5-billion-gallon capacity, which will help maintain water supply to the Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant. The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant, the region’s drought-proof water supply, is expected to deliver water beginning in November.

It's important to take proactive measures in a Stage 1 water shortage and residents can help by conserving water during these drier than normal conditions. Regional water supply demands in September averaged 208.5 million gallons per day (mgd), 7.45 mgd higher than August 2023 average demand mostly due to outdoor watering.

Regional watering restrictions are set by the Southwest Florida Water Management District; however, local utilities may set more stringent watering restrictions. Residents and businesses in the Tampa Bay region should follow their local watering restrictions and only water when needed and allowed.

Ways to save water include:

  • Know your watering days. Find your local utility’s watering restrictions by entering your zip code here https://www.tampabaywater.org/tampa-bay-watering-restrictions.
  • When it’s raining or rain is in the forecast, skip a week of watering and let Mother Nature water your lawn for free.
  • Inspect your irrigation system regularly for broken and blocked sprinkler heads and to make sure you’re not watering the sidewalk.
  • Wait to re-sod or put in new plants until the summer rainy season returns. Better yet, install a Florida-friendly landscape instead.
  • Install smart irrigation controllers to monitor soil or weather conditions so you water only when you need to. Residents may qualify for a free device and installation or up to a $250 rebate from Tampa Bay Water Wise.
  • Install a shallow well for irrigation. This takes you off your local utility system completely for watering your landscape. Residents may qualify for a $1,000 rebate through the Tampa Bay Water Wise program.
  • Check for household leaks, such as a leaky toilet flapper and save up to 200 gallons per day depending on the extent of the leak. For more information on replacing a toilet flapper, visit toiletflapper.org

Find more water saving tips at https://www.tampabaywater.org/water-saving-tips.

About Tampa Bay Water

Tampa Bay Water is the largest wholesale water supplier in Florida, providing high-quality drinking water to its members that, 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.