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City of Tampa addresses drought by temporarily purchasing water from Tampa Bay Water

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The Tampa Water Department will purchase water from Tampa Bay Water (TBW) beginning April 20, 2023. Tampa Bay Water supplies wholesale drinking water to Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, as well as New Port Richey, St. Petersburg, and Tampa.

“Although some of our customers may notice taste and odor differences, the water remains safe to drink and use in their homes and businesses,” said John Ring, Water Production Manager for the Tampa Water Department.

Why this purchase is necessary:

  • Lack of recent rainfall: The continued lack of rainfall has led to decreasing levels in our main source of water, the Hillsborough River Reservoir.
  • To comply with the requirements of our water use permit: The Tampa Water Department is allowed to withdraw up to 82 million gallons of water per day (MGD) on average from the Hillsborough River Reservoir. Rising drinking water demand has led to increased withdrawal from the Hillsborough Reservoir approaching our limit.

Projected timeline for additional water purchases:

  • Purchasing additional water from Tampa Bay Water will begin on April 20, 2023.
  • No end date has yet been determined. Purchases will continue until water levels in the Hillsborough River Reservoir are restored. It’s important to note that Tampa’s dry season usually runs from October through May.

What customers should expect:

  • Some customers, particularly those in the New Tampa area, may notice taste and odor differences. This is due to a difference in the water source. Water purchased from TBW can be a blend of groundwater, surface water, or desalinated water.
  • Tampa Water customers will also see additional charges on their utility bill, listed as “TBW Pass-Through.” These charges will likely begin to appear in their August/September statements.