Tampa Bay Regional Water Supply and Drought Update
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Contact: Brandon Moore
727-791-2304 | 727-470-0702

CLEARWATER, Fla. (June 20, 2013) — Tampa Bay Water has transitioned from a Phase 4 to a Phase 3 water shortage status because the Surface Water Treatment Plant has started providing water to the regional water supply system. The Phase 3 status is designated under the agency’s modified Water Shortage Mitigation Plan.

Early June rainfall has increased flows in the Alafia River and Tampa Bypass Canal above permitted threshold limits to provide steady water to the Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant. As surface water sources provide more of the regional drinking water supply, the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination plant has been shut down and will remain offline for at least the rest of the summer.

The function of the agency’s Water Shortage Plan is to identify when changes in water supply conditions and/or rain patterns occur. Tampa Bay Water expects conditions to continue to improve throughout the summer, which could rapidly move Tampa Bay Water’s drought phase to a Phase 1 drought alert. The regional reservoir remains offline while its interior liner is reconstructed until late summer 2014. Without this source of supply, Tampa Bay Water’s drought phases are highly dependent on river flow and can change often on short notice.

Regional watering restrictions are set by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and remain in a Phase 3 shortage until July 31, 2013. For information on water restrictions and to find out residential watering days, please visit tampabaywater.org/WaterSmarter.

Regional water facts in May 2013:

  • Rainfall totals in May averaged about 2.95 inches, which is near normal. Heaviest rainfall occurred from northwest to central Hillsborough County with amounts generally between 2.5 and 3.5 inches of rain. Western and central Pasco County received less than 1 inch.
  • Hillsborough River flow was 69.92 percent of the mean monthly flow for May, while the Alafia River flow was 62.54 percent of normal.
  • May temperatures were slightly below normal.
  • Regional water supply demands averaged about 242 million gallons per day, about 15 mgd less than May 2012 demand.

Rainfall totals are above normal on a 12-month running average, partially due to recent June rains and Tropical Storm Andrea, which also helped reduce regional water demand due to lack of outdoor watering.

Tampa Bay Water remains well below its permitted groundwater pumping limits.

Tampa Bay Water provides wholesale water to the public utility systems of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, as well as the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa. To learn more about Tampa Bay Water, please visit www.tampabaywater.org.