South Hillsborough Wellfield

South Hillsborough Wellfield Location Aerial

As population in southern Hillsborough County grows, demand for drinking water is growing along with it. Since March 2022, average demand has increased by more than 9 million gallons of water per day (mgd), and it continues to increase. The South Hillsborough Wellfield project could send an additional annual average of approximately 6 mgd to Hillsborough County between early 2026 and late 2028.

South Hillsborough Wellfield Location Map
Click to Enlarge Map

Project Overview

The new wellfield would include eight new production wells, piping, water treatment facilities, a storage tank and pumping facilities to be located on Hillsborough County-owned land near the intersection of Balm and Balm Riverview roads.

Tampa Bay Water performed aquifer performance tests in the area in 2021 and 2023. Both tests showed that the wellfield is technically feasible, environmentally sound and economical. Wellfield withdrawals are made possible by Hillsborough County’s aquifer recharge. Since 2015, Hillsborough County has been recharging the salty aquifer along the coast to prevent saltwater intrusion, which provides a benefit to the aquifer. This allows Tampa Bay Water to withdraw fresh water several miles away without harming the aquifer.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District recently issued a Water Use Permit to Tampa Bay Water for one well with an average annual production of 2.3 mgd. Tampa Bay Water is now working to turn the existing test well into a new drinking water well to help meet water needs in southern Hillsborough County.

Water from the well will go directly to Hillsborough County, instead of the regional system.

To bring the new drinking water well online, Tampa Bay Water will:

  • install a submersible pump, electrical instruments, controls, meter and permanent power.

To receive the water, Hillsborough County will:

  • design, construct and operate a temporary water treatment system on County-owned property at the intersection of Balm Road and Balm Riverview Road to treat the water coming from the well,
  • install approximately 8,800 feet of 16-inch and 20-inch diameter pipeline from the well to the temporary treatment facility, and
  • install a 16-inch diameter pipeline from the temporary treatment facility to the County’s new 42-inch diameter water transmission main to bring this new supply into the County’s water transmission and distribution system.

Tampa Bay Water’s ability to permit and build the full wellfield is contingent upon reaching an agreement with Hillsborough County. That agreement includes a commitment from Hillsborough County to continue its South Hillsborough Aquifer Recharge Program (SHARP) for the next 30 years and would include compensation to Hillsborough County for the benefit that SHARP provides to the aquifer, enabling Tampa Bay Water to withdraw fresh groundwater. Tampa Bay Water hopes to conclude negotiations in the summer of 2024.

Wells for this project will be more than 900 feet deep; in this area of Hillsborough County, the deep aquifer is separated from the shallow aquifer by a 250-feet thick clay confining layer. That means water level changes in the deep Upper Floridan Aquifer do not affect surface water features. Lakes, wetlands, springs and rivers in the area will not be affected by the new well or the full wellfield.

Additionally, Tampa Bay Water engineers conducted modeling, which showed minor drawdown effects from pumping — about 3 feet in the Upper Floridan Aquifer at the well, 2 feet at a distance of 300 feet from the well and 1 foot or less at legal existing users, which includes residential wells. Given that water levels in this area normally fluctuate 15-20 feet, this minimal withdrawal is not expected to impact other existing legal groundwater users.

Tampa Bay Water has a Good Neighbor Policy and will investigate any water-level related well complaints. If the investigation shows that pumping at Tampa Bay Water’s well caused a problem with a particular well, Tampa Bay Water will restore that well at no cost to the owner.


Tampa Bay Water’s cost for the initial well in the South Hillsborough Wellfield is approximately $2 million.

Initial Well Commissioning Schedule

  • Design: through summer 2024
  • Construction bidding: summer/fall 2024
  • Construction anticipated start: early 2025
  • Construction complete: early 2026
  • Operational: early 2026

Public Outreach

Public input plays an important role in all Tampa Bay Water projects. Input on the South Hillsborough Wellfield via Aquifer Recharge Credits project was provided via online surveys and public meetings. Results of that outreach are linked below:

Public information and outreach on the project are ongoing.

For more information

For more information please email or call (813) 486-0361.

Fast Facts:

SOURCE: Floridan Aquifer

PROJECT YIELD: 2.3 million gallons per day

KEY POINTS: new groundwater; net benefit to aquifer; within high growth area