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August 3, 2007

More water will be available to fill up Tampa Bay Water’s C.W. “Bill” Young Reservoir as a result of two executive orders, Order No. SWF 07-042 and Order No. SWF 07-043, signed today by David L. Moore, executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

The orders allow wholesale water provider Tampa Bay Water (TBW) to increase temporarily its withdrawals from the Alafia River and Tampa Bypass Canal to take advantage of recent rainfall. The additional withdrawals will be used to help fill up the 15-billion-gallon capacity reservoir which is currently down to 2.4 billion gallons of water.

“This drought has put us in dire straits,” Moore said. “Filling up the reservoir now will help offset the need for more groundwater withdrawals in the dry season next spring which could be a critical time for our water resources.”

The executive orders, which are in effect for 30 days, allow TBW to take up to 19 percent of the flow from the Alafia River when there is a specified minimum flow in the river. Its current permit allows withdrawals of only 10 percent of the flows. The permit’s restriction not allowing any withdrawals if the river’s flow falls below 124 cubic feet per second (the specified minimum) remains in effect. Extensive minimum flow studies of the river demonstrate that these temporary withdrawals pose no significant threat to the ecology of the river.

The executive orders also allow TBW to withdraw temporarily 100 percent of the flow from the Tampa Bypass Canal, as long as water levels in the lower poll of the canal are at or above a level of 9 feet. The current permit allows TBW to withdraw 80 percent. Although the executive order grants temporary authority, a proposed permit modification that is currently being negotiated would allow TBW to increase withdrawals to 100 percent over the term of the permit.

“We need to act now, while some water’s available, and try to build up our water storage,” Moore said. “We’re going to need it in the dry season.”

The executive orders take immediate effect. The Governing Board will consider concurring with the order when it meets on Aug. 28.


 
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