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Public input asked on new area water sources

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 1, 2001

ST. PETERSBURG -- A public hearing Tuesday in St. Petersburg invites residents to speak up about how future water supplies should be selected for the Tampa Bay area.

Tampa Bay Water, the area's water utility, and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council will hold a hearing from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the regional planning council office, 9455 Koger Blvd, Suite 219.

With Pasco County complaining of dry lake beds and Hillsborough County residents upset over a planned desalination plant in their back yard, the location of future water supplies can become a touchy subject.

Tampa Bay Water, which is looking for water to be tapped by 2007, has developed a list of screening criteria that currently includes cost, environmental effects, feasibility, regulatory concerns, water quality and yield. The public will be asked to comment on these standards or suggest new ones.

"Over 200 potential future drinking water supply projects will be evaluated to determine the most viable projects for further in-depth study," said Paula Dye, senior environmental planner for Tampa Bay Water. A short list of potential water supplies will be presented to the Tampa Bay Water board in July, she said, and public input is needed to set the standards to whittle that list down.

Call (727) 570-5151 ext. 257 for information on the hearing, or view a map of the meeting site at

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