The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) has submitted a water use permit application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to use up to 3.9 mgd* of water from Morris Bridge Sink for diversion through the Tampa Bypass Canal to the base of the dam on the Hillsborough River. The DEP has issued its notice of intent to permit the project. The project also includes design and construction of a permanent pump station at the Morris Bridge Sinkhole.
The City of Tampa and the SWFWMD contend that this water supply is needed to meet the minimum flow requirement on the Lower Hillsborough River. Opponents of the project contend that adequate water is available from other sources and that withdrawals from Morris Bridge Sink could damage wetlands and other natural resources. On December 7, 2015, the River Board joined the Environmental Protection Commission and the City of Temple Terrace and issued a letter to DEP outlining their opposition to the project.
*=”Million Gallons Daily”