Drought Lowers Water Supply

TAMPA -

If rainfall doesn't increase and people don't conserve, Hillsborough County's drinking water reservoir could be empty by April, according to Robyn Felix, spokeswoman for the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

'Unfortunately, if the reservoir does go dry, most likely we'll not be able to continue pulling surface water from the Alafia [River] because it's very low and we're in the dry season. So what's going to happen is they're probably going to have to begin taking additional water from the ground' such as from wells, Felix said. That could further impact lakes, wetlands and estuaries.

The Alafia River is so low that it is no longer able to provide water for public supplies and Tampa's main drinking water supply -- the Hillsborough River -- is near historic low levels.

All 16 counties in the water district are in drought conditions. But Felix said the region around Tampa Bay has been hit the hardest.

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