Regional Utility Asks Residents to Curb Water Use by 5 Percent During Dry Spring Months
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News Release

For Immediate Release

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

CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 6, 2024) Despite a rainy winter, Tampa Bay Water asks residents to continue water-saving habits as the region heads into its spring dry season.

El Niño rainfall, cooler weather and watering restrictions have helped thwart overwatering in the Tampa Bay area; however, regional water demands in February averaged about 189 million gallons per day – nearly two million gallons per day higher than in January.

The region remains in a 5.4-inch rainfall deficit averaged over the past 12 months, and average river flows are in a 4.4-million gallons per day deficit over the same period. It’s this scenario when Tampa Bay Water relies on its water savings account – the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, which holds 15.5 billion gallons of water when full.

Last October, the regional utility forecasted it would have around 10 billion gallons of water stored in its reservoir at this time. Mother Nature had other plans.

“We hoped to have more water in our reservoir going into the driest months of year – March, April and May,” said Warren Hogg, chief science officer for Tampa Bay Water. Instead, the reservoir sits at 7.2 billion gallons.

“We’re not going to run out of water for residents,” said Hogg. “But saving water during dry times leaves more water in the environment when it needs it most.”

Tampa Bay Water is asking residents to cut water use by 5%. “This is attainable considering up to 50% of water used at home during the dry season is for watering lawns,” Hogg added.

Outdoor watering in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties is limited to one-day-per-week per the Southwest Florida Water Management District water shortage order that runs through July 1, 2024. Residents can find their watering day by simply entering their zip codes at MyWaterDay.org.

Other ways residents can save water include:

  • Smart Lawn Watering: By skipping an irrigation cycle when it rains or has rained, you can save between 1,500 and 2,500 gallons of water.
  • Leak Detection: The average family can waste 180 gallons per week, or 9,400 gallons of water annually, from household leaks.
  • Toilet Flapper Check: A warped or poorly fitting flapper can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day and may cost you hundreds of dollars a year.
  • Turn Off the Tap: Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save 8 gallons of water per day.
  • Maximize Dishwasher and Laundry Loads: Running dishwashers only when full can save the average family nearly 320 gallons of water annually.
  • Hose Nozzle Usage: Using a hose nozzle saves about 8 gallons per minute by keeping the water from running constantly.
  • Fix Broken Sprinklers: A broken sprinkler can waste 25,000 gallons of water in six months.
  • Get rebates for water-efficient upgrades: Install water efficient fixtures and technology and receive rebates through the Tampa Bay Water Wise program.

Regional water facts as of March 1, 2024:

  • The region remains in a Stage 1 Water Shortage - Drought Alert due to a 5.4-inch rainfall deficit averaged over the past 12 months.
  • Rainfall in February averaged about 3.4 inches, about 0.6 inch above normal.
  • Average river flows are in a 4.4 million gallons per day (mgd) deficit when looking at the past 12 months. When river flows are lower, less water is available to support the regional surface water system.
  • Regional water demands in February averaged 188.56 mgd, 3.18 mgd lower than February 2023, but 1.8 mgd higher than demands in January 2024.
  • The C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir is at 7.15 billion gallons, 46% of its 15.5-billion-gallon capacity, which helps maintain water supply to the Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant.

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 2.6 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.