Tampa water situation gets more dire

03/26/09 Mitch E. Perry
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A week after the Tampa City Council announced strict water rationing rules, and a week before they go into effect, the city’s Water Director said the flow of the Hillsborough River has never been this low at this time of year.

Brad Baird said Tampa is unique in being the only local government that draws from the river.

Meanwhile, the city has been contacting landscapers and utility contractors to discover whether it makes business sense to fill watering trucks with reclaimed water that could be sprayed onto lawns. That could be a boost to those areas that want to maintain lush lawns after new regulations kick in next week that will allow only hand-watering of lawns once a week.

City officials have said that only licensed contractors who have water trucks would be permitted to distribute the reclaimed water, and the city won’t regulate how much those contractors can charge those who want the reclaimed water.

The Tampa Tribune reported earlier this week that the city of Tampa dumps around 55 million gallons a day of reclaimed water into Tampa Bay, and is under pressure from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to stop doing so.

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