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Hillsborough water woes: South county trickle brings torrent of complaints

Commissioners seek remedies for low water pressure until long-term utility upgrades are completed.

Hillsborough County plans hundreds of millions of dollars worth of utility improvements for its fast-growing southern region, an area that remains on irrigation restrictions through 2022 to preserve water supplies.

Despite the attempts at both long- and short-term fixes, a question still looms for elected officials and local residents alike: Are we going to have lush lawns or gushing faucets?

It’s a question being asked because each new home comes with a new lawn, exempt from the current once-a-week watering restrictions for county utility customers south of the Alafia River.

“Every new house in this area that hooks up to water is adding to the demand, adding to the problem,” said Commissioner Mariella Smith.

In May, the county received 136 complaints from south county customers about low water pressure, nearly triple the number from May 2020.

The complaints aren’t just words on paper, they are people who can’t rinse the shampoo out of their hair or wait an interminable amount of time just to fill the coffee pot with tap water, said Smith.