Not many things seem as sure as turning on a water faucet to get a steady stream of drinking water, unless you live or work in some parts of Southern Hillsborough County, where demand is challenging the supply and, at times, the flow can be reduced to a trickle.
The increase in demand for water is driven by growth in Southeastern Hillsborough County, which is seeing more residents move into new homes every day. To help meet that growing need, Tampa Bay Water is implementing a plan to increase the amount of water flowing to that part of the utility’s service area.
An agreement with Hillsborough County means Tampa Bay Water can move forward with plans to create an additional drinking water well in Southern Hillsborough County that could provide an additional 2.3 million gallons of water daily to the area.
“The water will be locally sourced and locally used,” said Warren Hogg, chief science officer for Tampa Bay Water. “Not only will it help meet the county’s needs, but it will also free up 2.3 million gallons of water per day from the regional system.”
The ability to draw the additional water from a Southern Hillsborough County source is due to the installation of reclaimed water injection wells along the area’s coastline that prevent saltwater from contaminating inland water supplies. Officials said the reclaimed treated wastewater will not intrude into drinking water supplies.
Water from the new well could be flowing through south county pipes by 2026, said Tampa Bay Water officials, who anticipate growing demand throughout its regional service area that includes Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, as well as the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and New Port Richey. Currently, the utility provides drinking water to 2.5 million people, a number that grows daily with new arrivals to the area. According to Tampa Bay Water, that means an additional 10-20 million gallons of new water per day will be needed to serve customers for the 10-year period 2028-38.
Other Tampa Bay Water projects intended to ensure drinking water to the area include a new booster station in Brandon that will send more water to the treatment plant in Lithia by the end of the year and construction of a new regional pipeline to deliver more water to Southern Hillsborough County by 2028.