By Tamas Mondovics

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection gave the green light for Tampa Bay Water (TBW) to fill the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir to capacity and to use the stored water as needed.

The reservoir, located between S.R. 39 and Boyette Rd. in Lithia, is 33 times the volume of Raymond James Stadium and first began operations in 2005 with a price tag of $146 million.

In August, TBW officials were pleased to announce that the 18-month, $129 million renovation and construction project by Kiewit Infrastructure South to replace the 15.5 billion gallon reservoir’s cracked erosion-control layer build a long-term fix was complete, prompting officials to begin filling the reservoir before it can be officially operational.

“We’re pleased that the renovation was completed on schedule,” said Matt Jordan, general manager for Tampa Bay Water. “Having our water savings account back in service makes the region’s water supply more reliable and drought-resistant.” During a recent media day, Jordan told reporters that he was pleased with the project, which required more than 140 pieces of heavy equipment and re-used more than 700,000 cubic yards of soil and included more than 500,000 cubic yards of soil cement; more than 105,000 tons of cement.

“Construction was smooth and we feel good about the results,” he said.

Fully operational the reservoir delivers water to more than 2.3 million people in the Tampa Bay area through Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

When full, the facility can provide up to 25 percent of the region’s drinking water needs for more than six months and was appropriately designed to store water from the Tampa Bypass Canal and the Alafia and Hillsborough rivers and is designed for use during dry times, making the region’s water supply more drought resistant, reliable and flexible.

Tampa Bay Water officials said that surface water is saved in the reservoir during wet times and is withdrawn for treatment during dry times.

The facility helps Tampa Bay Water take advantage of Florida’s rainfall and makes the regional water supply system more reliable. Now that the reservoir is fully operational, the agency will wait for enough rain to increase river flows so it can fill the facility to capacity. Visit,

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