Deal will pump up Hillsborough River water level

08/28/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Relief is on the way for the lower Hillsborough River thanks to a series of actions taken by the Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board on Tuesday.

Swiftmud approved new minimum flows for the lower portion of the river, a recovery strategy to restore flows to the river, and a funding agreement with Tampa on a series of minimum flow-related projects.

John Ovink is a Tampa based attorney with the group Friends of the River. The organization has been instrumental in getting an increase in the minimal water flow for the lower river. He says the increase will begin immediately.

Friends of the River filed an administrative law challenge back in 2000 to have a judge determine if the water needed a higher flow rate. Out of that came an agreement to have Swiftmud conduct a five-year study to come up with a new minimum flow.

Ovink says everybody involved with the plan should be happy with the end result.

Swiftmud also approved the recovery strategy set out by the agreement. It includes a series of potential projects including installation of transmission pipelines for Tampa Bay Water’s existing transfers from the Tampa Bypass Canal to the river for the city of Tampa.

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