PINELLAS PARK – A city councilwoman voiced concern over the possibility of a water shortage due to exploding housing, mall and industrial development.
Councilwoman Patricia Bailey-Snook said citizens could face serious water issues, including use restrictions, without proper planning for future needs.
Hundreds of townhouses and other residential units are in planning or construction stages. About 3,000 apartments are part of the Gateway project alone. The site is located on land shared by Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg.
“We experienced water restrictions several years ago due to drought and that can happen again,” Bailey-Snook said. “It may not rain as much in future years and that can cause water consumption problems.”
Keith Sabiel, director of water and sewer reclamation, does not foresee problems since the city currently only uses about 65 percent of its allotted water from the Pinellas County Water System.
“We are allotted 7.5 million gallons per day and use only about 5.4 million gallons,” Sabiel said.
Bailey-Snook, meanwhile, said the rest of Pinellas County also is growing. She said all areas of the state are experiencing unprecedented growth.
“You would be surprised at the amount of new housing and other development on the drawing boards,” she said. “Besides consumption, water pressure problems can be very real in the future.”
Sabiel said the city recently completed a reclaimed water system for irrigation purposes that eases regular water use.
The seven-year project was completed last year. About $200,000 is allocated annually to extend the reclaimed water pipeline to other areas.