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Drought-Proof, Alternative Water Supply Facility for Tampa Bay

Desalination is more common outside of the U.S. particularly in the Mediterranean and Middle East regions, but the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination facility is changing that with the addition of a drought-proof, alternative water supply facility that provides up to 25 million gallons per day of drinking water. The facility treats the seawater and then uses a process called reverse osmosis (RO) to draw the drinking water out from seawater. The final product is high-quality drinking water that supplies up to 10 percent of the region’s water needs in a place where other options are limited during the dry season. The desalination plant has a symbiotic relationship with neighboring Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station, which uses seawater from Tampa Bay as cooling water for the power plant then transfers it to the plant, and environmental studies show no measurable salinity change in Tampa Bay from the desalination plant. As one of the first desalination plants in a highly regulated environment, the facility has been under intense scrutiny by federal and state water regulators. As dry conditions are forecasted to continue, 2.4 million west-central Florida residents are benefiting from this pioneering project.

Courtesy of Tampa Bay Water

Courtesy of Tampa Bay Water

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