Water-Related News

Tampa Bay Regional Water Supply and Drought Update: Final Update

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Rains Providing Adequate Surface Water Supply Conditions

CLEARWATER – Tampa Bay Water has transitioned from a Phase 3 to a Phase 2 water shortage status due to the increased production from the Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant. The Phase 2 status is designated under the agency’s modified Water Shortage Mitigation Plan. This is the final water shortage status update for this dry season.

June and early July rainfall created adequate river flow in the Alafia River and Tampa Bypass Canal, providing enough water for the surface water treatment plant to now produce about 80 million gallons per day (mgd). The increase in surface water supplies offsets about half of groundwater supplies and all water supplied by the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant. The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant will remain offline for at least the rest of the summer.

The regional reservoir remains offline while its interior liner is reconstructed until late summer 2014. Without this source of supply, Tampa Bay Water’s water shortage phases are highly dependent on river flow and can change when dry periods return and surface water flows decline.

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 move Tampa Bay Water out of any water shortage phase by mid-September.

Regional water facts in June 2013:

Rainfall totals in June averaged about 12.42 inches, which is about 5.61 inches above normal. Heaviest rainfall was experienced in a swath across Pasco County and parts of northern Hillsborough County between 14 and 19 inches, with the lowest rainfall occurring in central Pasco and southern Hillsborough counties between 6 and 9 inches. However, rainfall amounts were generally consistent across the entire region with about 11-14 inches.

Hillsborough River was 205 percent of the mean monthly flow of June and the Alafia River was 107 percent of normal. It is predicted that both rainfall and temperatures will be above normal from July to September, with early July rainfall patterns following this prediction.

Regional water demands averaged about 223 million gallons per day, about a 20 mgd drop from May 2013 demand. Tampa Bay Water remains well below its permitted groundwater pumping limits.

Regional watering restrictions are set by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and remain in a Phase 3 shortage until July 31, 2013.

Source: Tampa Bay Water