By Brad Stager
Each day, Tampa Bay Water provides drinking water to more than 2.5 million customers in the Tampa Bay area. The region’s growing population is creating a need for the utility to plan for a changing future, in which it said at least an additional 10 million gallons of water a day will be needed by 2028 to support anticipated growth.
In order to ensure water needs can be met, Tampa Bay Water is requesting public input on a proposed project that is intended to help maintain a reliable water supply, especially in Southern Hillsborough County, where a large amount of development is occurring.
According to Brandon Moore, public communications manager of Tampa Bay Water, involving the public is an essential part of the work the utility performs. Residents can learn details about the project by visiting Tampa Bay Water’s website and reviewing the information presented there, including a video. Feedback about the project can be provided via an online survey.
“Your voice counts,” said Moore. “The 15 minutes you spend watching the video and answering the survey provides us valuable feedback we can share with the project team and will inform our board as they make their decisions on the next water projects.”
The project’s goal is to increase capacity of the region’s aquifer to support demand by reducing saltwater intrusion into it.
This increase of capacity in distributable water would be achieved by constructing a series of recharge wells that inject reclaimed water underground that can serve as a barrier between the encroaching saltwater from the west and the aquifer’s fresh water supply inland.
The injection sites would be along Southern Hillsborough County’s coastline, in brackish areas of the aquifer.
Water treatment facilities will be built on Hillsborough County-owned land near the intersection of Balm and Balm Riverview Rds.
The volume of freshwater available for distribution to customers will increase and no reclaimed water will intrude into the wellfield according to Tampa Bay Water, which said the project will increase water distribution capacity by 7.5 million gallons per day, and possibly even more.
There will also be a virtual public meeting on the project hosted by Tampa Bay Water on Tuesday, August 24 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The meeting requires preregistration at tampabaywater.org, where you can also review the video and other project materials as well as provide feedback.