Nestlé is seeking permission to take 1.1 million gallons of water a day from Ginnie Springs in North Florida. The company would sell the water to the public as bottled water. The Suwannee River Management District reports that the river and its waterways are fragile, as they are still in recovery from previous land management.
The bottling facility Nestlé plans to source the water is located in High Springs, Florida. According to their website, Nestlé uses their own “Natural Resource Managers” to locate safe, sustainable water supplies. Environmentalists are worried about the area’s loss for animal habitat and recreation. Local residents have set up a non-profit, Our Santa Fe River, Inc., to fight the company’s plan.
In an op-ed published in the Orlando Sentinel, non profit board members Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson and Jim Tatum wrote, “An additional reason to deny this permit is because the Santa Fe River and its associated spring habitats are home to 11 native turtle species and four non-native species. Few places on Earth have as many turtle species living together. In fact, approximately 25% of all North American freshwater turtle species inhabit this small river system.”
The permit holder prior to Nestlé drew a high of .26 million gallons a day from the springs. Nestlé has requested to draw more than 4 times that amount. The Suwannee River water management district will decide if it will allow Nestlé to renew an expired water permit.
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