The surprising sources of your drinking water

Do you ever wonder where your water comes from when you turn on the tap?

You may be surprised to learn that it is a blend from three very different sources: groundwater, surface water, and desalinated seawater. And this makes our water very special. In fact, Tampa Bay water is the only blend of these three sources of water in the United States.

Why are three sources needed for our water?

This unique blend was devised to ensure our supply of clean and safe water for our growing population.

Originally, groundwater was the only source of drinking water for the Tampa Bay region. It comes from the Florida Aquifer where it is extracted from limestone deep underground. But as our water needs expanded, the aquifer could not keep up without possible environmental consequences.

Surface water
Surface water was a natural choice, based on our 47-50 inches of rain every year. Conservative withdrawals are taken that protect wildlife and the health of local rivers. The last source, seawater, is a drought-proof alternative.

Seawater is desalinated by a complex treatment that includes reverse osmosis to make this water safe for human consumption.

How much water comes from each source?

Current information from Tampa Bay Water states that in 2017, our water is a blend of 63% groundwater, 31.6% surface water, and 5.4% desalinated seawater. This blend may change with the weather and other environmental factors. We can thank our regional water authority, Tampa Bay Water, for their ongoing efforts to ensure that our water sources are secure both today and in the future.

- Data from Tampa Bay Water

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