Surface water, or river water, was the first alternative to groundwater to be added as a drinking water source to the Tampa Bay region’s wholesale water supply. Tampa Bay Water’s Enhanced Surface Water System takes advantage of the 47-50 inches of rain that typically falls annually in our region by skimming water from the Alafia River, Hillsborough River and Tampa Bypass Canal and cleaning it to drinking water standards at a state-of-the-art regional facility.
Tampa Bay Water’s Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant, located in Tampa, has operated successfully since 2002. It is designed to provide an average of up to 90 million gallons per day of high-quality drinking water to the region and a maximum of 120 million gallons per day.
It will be expanded and optimized to leverage our existing surface water sources without increasing permitted withdrawals from the rivers and canal.
An additional 10-15 million gallons per day of drinking water will be gained by:
Some of the surface water treatment plant’s components, including the finished water storage, pumping and pipeline, will not need to be expanded.
Tampa Bay Water conducted focus groups, public opinion surveys, telephone town halls and speakers’ bureau presentations to obtain input for this project under its Long-term Master Water Plan update. Public impacts are minimal as all work is performed on the existing surface water treatment plant site. Outreach will continue as needed in design and construction phases.
This project was selected from three top-ranked projects in Tampa Bay Water's Long-term Master Water Plan to meet the region’s drinking water needs in the 2028 timeframe. The project is a culmination of five years of analysis though Tampa Bay Water’s planning process. This 20-year framework for meeting the region’s future drinking water needs includes analyses of future demand, conservation potential, supply reliability, water shortage mitigation planning and hydrologic uncertainty, along with potential water supply projects to ensure adequate drinking water in the future.