Nestlé Plans to Plunder 1.1M Gallons a Day from Florida Natural Springs

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by Erin Elizabeth, Health Nut News:

Nestlé Waters’ is at it again, wanting to take publicly owned water and sell it back to the public. Their proposal to take 1.1 million gallons per day from Florida’s Ginnie Springs has drawn a backlash from conservationists.

Ginnie Springs sits in the Santa Fe River and serves as a home for several species of turtles that nest on the river’s banks. Conservationists and Environmental groups say the river is too fragile to support Nestlé’s plans. The river is already listed as “in recovery” by the Suwannee River water management district after years of over-pumping, according to the Guardian.

Taxpayer money has been used to restore the spring, and many residents are highly critical of a business practice that lets Nestle take the water back out. The Florida Water Resources Act declared that all the water in springs, rivers, and lakes is the property of the state (not the landowners), but it did not set a price on water. According to the Gainesville Sun, that means Nestlé can take the state’s water and not pay for it. Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson and Jim Tatum, from the conservation group Our Santa Fe River, wrote in a column for the paper:

[W]e have an ethical issue with our state putting large sums of money into conservation practices and recharge projects on the Santa Fe River and then, at the same time, counteracting this action by fomenting the free extraction of a publicly owned natural resource by a for-profit company.”

Essentially, taxpayers are funding replenishment of the aquifer and then allowing Nestlé to take it out and sell it back to us.”1

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Residents are perplexed by such a bizarre way of doing business and are teaming up with conservationists to ask the Suwannee River Water Management District to deny renewing Nestlé’s permit. Julienne Wallace wrote in creating a change.org petition:

Ginnie Springs is one of Florida’s treasures. It’s loved by locals and travelers alike. Nestlé is known for destroying places like Ginnie Springs and its breaking our hearts! PLEASE DON’T GIVE NESTLÉ THE PERMIT TO TAKE WATER FROM GINNIE SPRINGS!!!”1

Seven Springs currently hold the permit to the water and has never drawn more than 260,000 gallons per day. But Nestlé has invested massively in a new bottling plant which will allow it to pull out as much water as possible. Nestlé contends that that drawing 1.1 million gallons of water per day is only .05 percent of the total daily volume there, according to WTSP News in Tampa. (If anything – humanity need to move AWAY from bottled water due to the dire situation we are in with plastic.)

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In a written statement posted on its website, Nestlé Waters North America said:

“Springwater is a rapidly renewable resource when managed correctly. Nestlé Waters North America is committed to the highest level of sustainable spring water management at all of the springs we manage. We have worked to be a good neighbor in Florida for decades. Our commitment goes beyond just caring about the water. We value our relationships with Florida residents and community leaders, and always strive to create shared value within the communities where we operate.”1

That reasoning did not hold much water with Malwitz-Jipson ,who said to the Guardian:

The Santa Fe River is already in decline [and] there’s not enough water coming out of the aquifer itself to recharge these lovely, amazing springs that are iconic and culturally valued and important for natural systems and habitats.

It’s impossible to withdraw millions of gallons of water and not have an impact. If you take any amount of water out of a glass you will always have less.”1

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