Tampa City Council discusses reclaimed water and Indirect Potable Reuse

But although several members of the Council all praised Miranda and said that the discussion about Tampa's future water needs were vital, John Dingfelder said he wasn't willing to give up on the idea of expanding the city's reclaimed water system, which currently only serves homes in the South Tampa area.

The idea of IPR were fleshed out in a story that CL covered last month.

Councilman Miranda seemed to get has gander up when one public speaker commented about January and February being an extremely rainy period, and that in fact  Tampa really did not have a water shortage, and so discussions about IPR were not appropriate.  The veteran Councilman addressed the speaker by saying, "We can't stand still.  It's s for the future, not for the day…any official who’s just thinking of today, and not in the future, shouldn’t be in office!"

Councilwoman Mary Mulhern complimented Miranda on his planning and leadership on the issue.  She admonished the speaker by saying the rain was El Nino, which was preceded by three years of drought.  "And on the global level, the water shortages are going to be incredible," adding that Florida is suffering from over development.

John Dingfelder said, "I would rather take our toilet water and put in on our lawns, than take that our toilet water and put it in our taps," adding " if we put anything on the ballot, I think we should put those 2 issues on the ballot..because the money might be similar."

Dingfelder also said that putting the issue on the ballot for Tampa customers would be unfair in way, because of those who live in Hillsborough County that also are using (and paying for) city water.  He suggested that building a second reservoir to join the Bill Young facility in eastern Hillsborough County is the way to go.

Miranda said that an upcoming council meeting he will seek approval to request the city's legal department to draft a ballot question.

The Tampa City Council on Thursday held a long awaited workshop on exploring the possibility of using IPR, or Indirect Potable Reuse, to address their water needs in the future.

The idea has been championed by Councilman Charlie Miranda, who initially brought up the issue at council last year.  Recently there have been two public workshops discussing the proposal on the USF campus, and IPR itself is being done currently in places  like Orange County, California, El Paso and Virginia.  The Councilman has discussed bringing the issues before the voters of Tampa to decide in March of 2011.

Also discussed was a report that the city paid consultants $140,000.  That study concluded that if the city worked with its neighbors and Swiftmud, it could do build an extensive reclaimed water program for approximately $130 million, much lower than what Miranda has been saying would be the cost, in comparison to IPR.

However, upon prodding by Miranda, Mike Smith with the group CDM said that that $130 million figure  could go up to $340 million.

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