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Despite recent showers, Tampa Bay region remains in rainfall deficit

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CLEARWATER – Despite recent rainfall, the Tampa Bay region remains in a Stage I Drought Alert due to below-average regional rainfall on a 12-month rolling average. As dry conditions persist, residents are encouraged to use only the water they need and follow local watering restrictions. Outdoor watering in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties is limited to one day per week per the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) water shortage order that took effect on Dec. 1, 2023. Watering restrictions help reduce water waste because up to 50% of water used at home during drought conditions like this is for watering lawns.

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Tampa Bay Water announced the drought alert 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.

Regional water facts as of Jan. 2, 2024:

  • Regional rainfall is at a 9.3 inch deficit averaged over the past 12 months.
  • Rainfall in December averaged about 3.8 inches, 0.9 inches above normal.
  • River flows are in a 9.1 million gallons per day (mgd) deficit averaged over the past 12 months.
  • Regional water demands in December averaged 191.15 mgd, 10.4 mgd higher than December 2022, but 14.2 mgd lower than November 2023.
  • The C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir is at 7.3 billion gallons, 47% of its 15.5-billion-gallon capacity, which helps maintain water supply to the Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant.