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Pipeline repair will squeeze water supply
Keep cars and lawns dry next week, users in a three-county area are told.
By JACKIE RIPLEY, Times Staff Writer
Published November 20, 2007
Residents and businesses in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties are being asked to hold off lawn watering and car washing next week because a major pipeline will be turned off.
Starting Nov. 27, Tampa Bay Water will shut down the pipeline that currently provides drinking water to about 1.5-million customers in St. Petersburg, unincorporated Pinellas County, central and west Pasco and northwestern Hillsborough County.
The construction should be finished by Dec. 2.
Customers will still get drinking water while the pipeline is shut down, but supplies will be limited, said Tampa Bay Water spokeswoman Michelle Biddle Rapp.
Residents and businesses are being asked to voluntarily shut off their irrigation systems during that week. The pipeline shutdown affects only drinking water, not reclaimed water or wastewater services.
"We're letting people know that the water supply will be lower than normal and they should watch what they use," said Pam Greene with Hillsborough County's Water Resource Services Department. "That way they can avoid experiencing low pressure and the possibility of precautionary boil water notices."
The shutdown comes as the region is already under watering restrictions due to a lack of rainfall.
The restrictions, imposed in January and extended in July, were slated to expire Nov. 30.
But the governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District is scheduled to meet next week to talk about extending - and possibly tightening - the current one-day-per-week limits.
That board is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Monday at the Quorum Hotel Westshore in Tampa.
Tampa Bay Water, the largest wholesale utility in Florida, supplies water to utilities in the three-county region, which then sell it to nearly 2.5-million residents of the Tampa Bay area.
The utility currently uses an 84-inch-diameter pipeline to provide 60-million to 75-million gallons of water to parts of those three counties.
But central Pasco's growth has led to higher demand for water and reliability from the system. So Tampa Bay Water is shutting down the pipe to install a T-shaped connection that would better serve central Pasco, Rapp said.
The new connection won't carry any larger flow, but it will improve the reliability of the system and the pressure to central Pasco residents during high-demand times, she said.
Anyone who experiences problems with water pressure or other service issues should contact the local utility, Rapp said.
Those are Pinellas County Utilities, Pasco County Utilities in the Land O'Lakes and Odessa areas, Hillsborough County Water Resource Services in the northwest area of the county, and the city of St. Petersburg.