Long range water planning critical to residents and health of the River

July 2019 – Water is critical to the daily life of people. We need clean water from the environment to drink, bathe, and for various other household, commercial, and industrial uses. The natural environment also needs clean water to sustain wildlife, forests, and ecosystems. Planning for future water needs is therefore essential to ensure people and the environment both prosper in the future.

Hillsborough County and Tampa benefit greatly from being members of a regional wholesale water supply agency, Tampa Bay Water. Recently, Ivana Kajtezovic – Planning Program Manager at Tampa Bay Water – discussed the recent update of their Long-Term Master Water Plan (LTMWP) with the Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board’s Technical Advisory Council. Tampa Bay Water has an integrated drought-resistant water supply system with thirteen wellfields, eight groundwater treatment facilities, a surface water treatment plant, a desalination treatment plant, nine pump stations, and 270 miles of transmission mains.

Required by an Interlocal Agreement, the Long-Term Master Water Plan answers two important questions… How much water do we need, and when do we need it? It provides a 20-year outlook on more than building new projects. It also includes demand forecasting, optimizing the system, demand management, regulatory requirements, and water quality. Regional water demand is about 250 million gallons per day (mgd) currently and will grow to 298 mgd by the year 2045. Tampa Bay Water supplies member governments with about 178.8 mgd of that need and is expected to supply about 220 mgd of that need by the year 2045.

The region will need 10 mgd of additional water by 2028 and an additional 10 mgd by 2038. The three top-ranked new projects from the LTMWP are Southwest Water Treatment Plant (SWTP) expansion with existing sources, desalination plant expansion with existing sources, and new groundwater via net benefit from the South Hillsborough Aquifer Recharge Program (SHARP).  With this and continued planning, we can meet the needs of both people and the environment, including the Hillsborough River and its ecosystem.

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