Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner expressed the frustration about being at sea with the boards of his ship shrinking and not a drop useful to him. How much do you know about your water supply? How much do you know about the regional water supply? How much SHOULD you know about the water supply and have some voice in the management of that critical resource?
Basically, we have water everywhere but need to worry about what we can drink unless somebody is worrying about that for us. In steps Tampa Bay Water (for many of us).
You have to make the decisions on how much you want to need or know but here are a couple resources to get you well on your way. First explore The Tampa Bay Water website. Check out their presentation, decide if you want to learn a little more. Then decide if you’d like to join the conversation in a telephone Town Hall Forum. The next opportunity is Wednesday, April 18, 6:30-7PM. Sign up here. Finally take their survey. Please consider doing this whether or not you did any of the other things. Your input is valuable.
Now just a broad overview of Tampa Bay Water. They are a not for profit, special district of the state of Florida charged with supplying quality water to their customer base. Their customer base included Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties as well as New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa. This accounts for about 186 millions gallon of water per day. They estimate our current sources can satisfy the demand in their customer base until 2028. Those 186mgpd do not account for agricultural users, some industrial users and other regional users that may self-supply. But they need to know that demand and usage as ultimately all suppliers are drawing from one or more of the sources used by Tampa Bay Water whether that be wells, the aquifer, brackish sources, seawater, etc. Each of those sources requires different treatment programs to make the water usable and available for distribution for safe human consumption. To say that this is a complex engineering, chemical, biological, and political challenge is an understatement. To point that their role is critical to you every time you turn on your tap is likewise a gross understatement.
So we encourage you to at least take the survey above and drill down into the details to your hearts content. We have plenty of water but the drops to drink are limited unless Tampa Bay Water is successful in their mission.