The Tampa Bay region will get a boost in its water supply from a $14 million project in Pasco County that leaders say will have a positive impact on the environment.
- Pasco teamed with Southwest Florida Water Management District
- Together they constructed 237 acres of wetlands
- Scientists say project will improve environment, drinking water
4G Ranch sits in between two regional well fields that produce 30 million gallons a day of drinking water for Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
“Thirty million gallons a day withdrawn from this area has a detrimental impact. It reduces the superficial water table in this area," said Jeff Harris, an environmental biologist for Pasco County Utilities. "That causes some environmental degradation to the wetlands and lakes and things of that nature that are drying up."
Recently, Pasco County partnered with Southwest Florida Water Management District to construct 237 acres of wetland. The property will have 15 ponds.
“It's highly purified, it's highly cleansed at our water reclamation facilities. Then we’ll pipe it here through extensive infrastructure, and then it will go to those 15 individually controlled wetland cells that will be planted with vegetation," Harris said.
Each cell will have varying amounts of water, from a couple of inches up to 12 feet. That water will help replenish the land and increase the supply of drinking water for the region.
“That will benefit the environment for the flora and the fauna in bringing wildlife into these areas, and it also recharges the aquifer," said Brian Armstrong, the executive director of the water management district.
According to the engineering company CH2M, this project is the largest groundwater recharge wetland in the world. It also will have no negative impact to the existing natural wetlands.
The project is being funded by Pasco County and the water management district. It is expected to be completed around June 2017.