Tampa City Council on Water




Water, it’s availability and at what price were topics of discussion at this morning’s Tampa City Council meeting.


Tampa depends upon the Hillsborough River for its drinking water.  Last fall, a report from the Southwest Florida Management District, also known as Swiftmud, established the minimum water flow level for the River at 20 cubic feet per second……Water Director Brad Baird told the Council that a scientific peer review is now studying that report. 


John Dingfelder said the City faces some challenges with the River (roll tape#2 o.q.”as they are” )   


Faced with the possibility of less water meaning higher prices for Tampa residents, last summer, the Council brought up the idea of  investigating whether it was possible for the City of Tampa to gradually cut off providing water to some 200,000 customers who live outside the city limits.


At the first Council meeting of the New Year, Councilmember Linda Saul-Sena asked

Water Department head Brad Baird if it was possible to review that possibility soon, so legislation could be proposed before the Legislative session begins in Tallahassee.


But Councilmember John Dingfelder, who proposed that idea last year, said it would not be wise to try to go further with the somewhat radical measure at this time (roll tape#3 o.q.”     )


The City of Tampa takes out 82 million gallons a day from the Hillsborough River.  Brad Baird told the Council that there were several times this year when the City had to purchase water from Tampa Bay Water to provide enough water for city residents.


And Baird said those costs would have to be picked up by the Tampa Tax Payer

(roll tape#4 o.q.”pass thru those costs”)    


Baird said the City would continue its water restrictions of allowing people to water their lawns only once a week.


Councilwoman Mary Alvarez said she was confused about how much water was available for the City – questioning the development that city officials have approved of in the last year (roll tape#5 o.q.”Just tell me”)


Alvarez raised her question in regards to the recent approval of a project at Rattlesnake Point, a parcel of land that juts out into Tampa Bay just south of Gandy Boulevard.


. Baird said the Tampa Bay Region DOES have plenty of water.  But then he asked and answered his own rhetorical question (roll tape#6 o.q. “roll tape#7 o.q.”no…no”)


And But Baird said that the need for water in Tampa because of growth is ‘dwarfed’ by the demand by existing customers to water their own lawns

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