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Tampa Bay Water issues plea for conservation, citing drought, Stage 1 water shortage

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CLEARWATER – Tampa Bay Water is calling on every resident to conserve water as the region remains in a Stage 1 water shortage due to a 7.6-inch rainfall deficit. Dry conditions combined with increased demand means it’s time for us all to take proactive steps to eliminate water waste.

Tampa Bay Water is urging residents to follow these ten essential tips now to save water inside and outside their homes. These measures not only address the current water shortage, but also contribute to long-term sustainability and lower utility costs.

  1. Know Your Watering Days: Regional watering restrictions are year-round in our region, set by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and enforced by local water utilities. Residents and businesses in the Tampa Bay region should follow their local watering restrictions and only water when needed and allowed. Find your watering days here.
  2. Smart Lawn Watering: By skipping an irrigation cycle when it rains or has rained, you can save between 1,500 and 2,500 gallons of water.
  3. Leak Detection: According to the U.S. EPA, the average family can waste 180 gallons per week, or 9,400 gallons of water annually, from household leaks.
  4. Toilet Flapper Check: Depending on the extent of the leak, a warped or poorly fitting flapper can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day and may cost you hundreds of dollars a year.
  5. Conserve for Dormant Grass: According to UF/IFAS Extension, lawn and landscape plants are dormant this time of the year and need minimal irrigation. Watering every 10-14 days should be sufficient for most landscapes in winter.
  6. Turn Off the Tap: According to the U.S. EPA, turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save 8 gallons of water per day.
  7. Maximize Dishwater and Laundry Loads: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, running dishwashers only when it's full can save the average family nearly 320 gallons of water annually.
  8. Hose Nozzle Usage: Using a hose nozzle saves about 8 gallons per minute by keeping the water from running constantly.
  9. Fix Broken Sprinklers: According to the U.S. EPA, a broken sprinkler can waste 25,000 gallons of water in six months.
  10. Get rebates for water-efficient upgrades: Install water efficient fixtures and technology and receive rebates through the Tampa Bay Water Wise program.

Tampa Bay Water announced the Stage 1 water shortage on Oct. 1 under the regional utility’s Water Shortage Mitigation Plan to proactively address water supply shortages driven by prolonged effects of rainfall deficits. A Stage 1 water shortage is triggered when the rainfall deficit is more than 5 inches or river flow deficits are more than 10 million gallons per day (mgd).

Regional water facts as of Nov. 1, 2023:

  • Regional rainfall is at a 7.6 inch deficit averaged over the past 12 months.
  • Rainfall in October averaged about 1.2 inches, 1.5 inches below normal.
  • River flows are in a 4.4 mgd deficit averaged over the past 12 months.
  • Regional water demands in October averaged 217.24 mgd, 22.5 mgd higher than September 2023.
  • The C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir is at 12.3 billion gallons, 79% of its 15.5-billion-gallon capacity, which helps maintain water supply to the Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant.
  • The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant is being prepared to deliver water to region.