District Extends Order Allowing Increased Withdrawals From the Alafia River
The Southwest Florida Water Management District Wednesday extended the water shortage emergency order that allows Tampa Bay Water to withdraw additional water from the Alafia River to store in the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir. This is the second time the District has extended this emergency order, which is necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare. Drought conditions have caused an acute water shortage within the region.
Tampa Bay Water, the region's wholesale water supplier, stores water in the reservoir for use during the dry season or when other supplies are not sufficient to meet potable water demand.
Tampa Bay Water provides water to Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, as well as the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa.
The emergency order, also referred to as an Executive Director Order, allows Tampa Bay Water to take up to 19 percent of the flow from the Alafia River. Its current water use permit allows withdrawals of only 10 percent of the flows. The order does not change the existing permit condition that forbids withdrawals when the average daily flow is less than 124 cubic feet per second. Extensive minimum flow studies of the river demonstrate that these temporary withdrawals pose no significant threat to the ecology of the river.
At the end of July, the reservoir had only about 2.4 billion gallons in storage. Since the Alafia River emergency order and another emergency order for the Tampa Bypass Canal went into effect Aug. 3, Tampa Bay Water has been able to increase reservoir storage by more than 4.8 billion gallons. As of Sept. 13, the reservoir held 7.2 billion gallons of water.
Tampa Bay Water's goal is to have at least 9 billion gallons of water in storage by the end of the tropical storm season, or Nov. 30. When full, the reservoir stores approximately 15 billion gallons of water.
The emergency orders were originally scheduled to expire on Aug. 29, 2007 and were extended through Sept. 26, 2007. This action taken on the Alafia River emergency order extends its terms through Oct. 31, 2007.
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