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Tampa Water Supply Bill Goes Down The Drain

The City of Tampa's dam on the Hillsborough River, with the reservoir on the left
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A bill that would have allowed the city of Tampa to increase its water supply has dried up in the state legislature. Some feared it would have reignited the area's water wars.

House Bill 1303, also known as the Tampa Augmentation Project or TAP, would have allowed Tampa to send highly treated waste water that now flows into Tampa Bay back into its reservoir.

The bill would have let Tampa essentially manage its own water supply using ‘reclaimed’ water, as in waste water that has been treated to be nearly pure and safe to drink.

Tampa Bay Water is the regional water supply agency for Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties. It was established in 1998 to settle the regions long-running dispute over the water in the shared aquifer.

The passage of TAP would have made Tampa less reliant on the water authority. Backers of the bill say it would have allowed more water to be distributed to the rest of the region.

Tampa Bay Water officials say the bill could have threatened the agreement between the three counties and their three biggest cities -- St. Petersburg, New Port Richey and Tampa.

It didn't make it through a House committee hearing Tuesday, likely ending any chance of passage during the current session.

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Hafsa Quraishi is a WUSF Public Media digital news intern for fall 2017.