Tampa Bay Regional Water Supply and Drought Index February 9, 2009
CLEARWATER (February 9, 2009)— Surface water availability declined to zero and long-term regional drinking water storage conditions continued to descend in the Tampa Bay region in December, as the regions’ rainfall totals were about 31% below normal for the month.
Surface water flow conditions are extremely low. C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir water began flowing into the regional water supply distribution system about 6 months ahead of average condition needs and supplies are almost exhausted. Regional water facts for December:
- The region is well into the fall-winter season when rainfall totals are normally low. The trend of individual monthly rainfall deficits continued throughout the region, averaging about 31% or 0.87 inches below the normal of 2.76 inches. Rainfall deficits were highest in northern Pasco County (almost 3 inches) and lowest in central Hillsborough, where an excess of about ½ inch above normal fell.
- Long-term rainfall deficits for the Hillsborough River basin increased over an inch to about 42 inches and the Alafia River watershed the deficit increased by about 1 inch to 21 inches.
- River flows continue to decline, flow in the Hillsborough River was about 79% below normal; daily flow remains below the 10th percentile.
- Alafia River flow was about 81% below normal in December; daily flow remains near the 10th percentile.
- Regional water demand in January averaged about 227 million gallons per day (mgd), a less than 1% decrease from December demand.
- As of February 5, 2009, 1.04 billion gallons of water remained stored in the Regional Reservoir.
Cool weather conditions, along with increased enforcement of water restrictions, kept irrigation demand low. Significant surface water flow deficits and long-term below normal rainfall are expected to plague conditions in the region through the spring dry season. To eliminate the current surface water flow deficit problems and provide flows for treatment, consistent and well above normal rainfall is needed throughout the normally drier winter months and spring dry season, which is not anticipated.Following a Tampa Bay Water request, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) entered in to a Phase III Extreme Water Shortage for the tri-county area on October 28, 2008. Tampa Bay Water requested the District declare a Phase IV Critical water shortage for Tampa Bay Water and its member governments on February 2, 2009. Tampa Bay Water continues to request the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey and counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco reduce demand and increase enforcement of water restrictions.
For more information contact Dave Bracciano or Alison Adams at 727.796.2355.
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