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Water-Related News

Tampa Bay region’s drinking water could come from familiar source

The regional water utility eyes more Pasco groundwater as a possible answer to growing demand.

Tampa Bay’s regional water utility is looking in old places for new drinking water.

As it seeks more water to meet a growing population over the next 10 years, Tampa Bay Water is considering tapping water beneath the ground in Pasco County to help quench the region’s thirst.

The utility is considering building a new wellfield in northeastern Pasco, or else seeking permission from the state water management district to increase pumping at existing wellfields. If either is approved, it would reverse the 25-year trend of limiting withdrawals in Pasco County because of lower lake levels and dry wetlands from previous over-pumping.

Those environmental concerns triggered widespread litigation and spurred the state and local governments to form Tampa Bay Water in 1998 to replace the prior regional utility, the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority. The Southwest Florida Water Management District has said the region’s lakes and wetlands have recovered from the prior pumping damage.