Water Hogs: During drought, hundreds of Tampa Bay homes guzzled a gallon of water a minute
When Amalie Oil president Harry Barkett plunked down $6.75-million for his Bayshore Boulevard mansion, he picked up 12.5 bathrooms, a pool, a hot tub, an elevator and a deck bigger than some one-bedroom apartments.
But the home included one other item: a huge water bill.
During the first five months of 2017, the 13,000-square foot house used 1.2 million gallons of water, more than any other residence in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater or unincorporated Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Put another way, that's more than 8,000 gallons of water a day, about as much as the average house uses in an entire month.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay area was suffering one of the worst droughts in its history. Just 11.93 inches of rain fell from October through May — the fourth lowest amount ever for that period. The result was brush fires and water restrictions. Gov. Rick Scott had to declare a state of emergency and the National Weather Service termed it a "severe drought.''
Yet hundreds of homes across the region's ritziest neighborhoods averaged more than a gallon of water a minute during the dry months.