Tampa Bay's biggest water users

6:00 PM, Nov 8, 2010   |    comments
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TAMPA BAY, Florida - The state may not be in a drought anymore, but with the way some homeowners consume water, a drought may happen sooner than nature intended.

While the average Tampa Bay family uses roughly 70,000 gallons of water a year, reviews of public records reveal some homeowners use nearly 50 times that amount.

CALCULATOR: How much water is your family using?

Several dozen single-family residences consumed more than one million gallons of water last year and most are repeat offenders. 

Bucs Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer, philanthropist David Straz, former NBA star Matt Geiger, Republican fundraiser and developer Al Austin, and infomercial king Kevin Harrington are all members of the "Million Gallon Club."

But the water king of Tampa Bay is Lazydays R.V. founder Don Wallace.  His Bayshore Blvd. mansion consumed 3.3 million gallons of water in 2009.  And that was down about 3 million gallons from his 2008 consumption.

Some prominent members of Tampa Bay's "Million Gallon Club":

"Conservation is always important here in Florida because we have very limited water resources here," said Robyn Felix, spokesperson for Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD).

Although Florida's reservoirs are full, thanks to healthy summer rains, a dry fall so far is the start of what is forecasted to be 6-9 months of dry "La Nina" conditions.

"By this time next year," Felix said, "we could be in a much more serious situation."

SWFWMD says the next drought could be less than 12 months away, so part of its conservation message has been to ask local water agencies to adopt surcharges for the most extreme users in a period of water shortage.

Several local agencies have obliged, with St. Petersburg even adopting year-round surcharges for its highest tier-users.

Even though SWFWMD lifted the severe drought restrictions last summer, some watering restrictions remain in-place.  Click here to find out when you can water.

The agency also tries to educate about conservation as much as possible so the next drought isn't as painful on the state's resources as the last one. 

Polk County, Pasco County, and New Port Richey statistics were not available.

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