Will judge’s ruling allow Nestlé and Seven Springs to bottle nearly a million gallons of water a day from Florida springs?

Florida springs and fresh water
Devil Spring In Ginnie Springs. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (Nov. 2012).

Opponents of the plan to allow a giant corporation to draw more water from Florida’s pristine springs and aquifer suffered a setback last month.

The food giant Nestlé is collaborating with a company called Seven Springs Water to apply for a permit renewal to take nearly a million gallons a day of water from springs connected to the Santa Fe River.

Recently, an administrative law judge ruled in favor of the permit applicants, contradicting staff recommendations from the Suwannee River Water Management District.

To find out the latest and what this means for Florida water, this morning WMNF spoke with Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, a board member with the group Our Santa Fe River.

Sign about Nestle water grab in Florida
Sign protesting Nestlé. Via Our Santa Fe River on Facebook.

“Extracting that amount of water on a continuous basis, all day long, will create some sort of conal situation. A cone of depression of sorts, where water will eventually migrate to that extraction point.

“And then the things that are surrounding that water are going to naturally fill up with some other water that’s flowing underneath our groundwater resources, down through our system. Chances are, it’s going to impact the springs that I just mentioned, the springs that are associated in that vicinity.

“Those are already delicate springs already. They don’t have the discharge that they had even 20 years ago when this permit first got online. Everything’s changing. All of us are using more water.

“To pull it out of an extractive point, directly out of the springs that are associated with the most iconic experiences in the state of Florida, is a travesty beyond words.

“Before, 300,000 (gallons), now we’re talking almost a million. It’s going to have an impact. People downstream from this water grab, already for the past 20 years. Have already talked about their impacts, neighbors and riparian owners, and people that use the water also. And so, we’ll see an impact one way or the other.

“The other impact, of course, will be more plastic on the planet. How much does the planet needs for throwaway plastic bottles?

“And our big push right now, is to write a postcard. We want to flood the Water Management District with postcards. Since they didn’t get the electronic correspondence of the 19,000 comments, we want to make sure that they’re getting postcards all day long.”

Malwitz-Jipson gave out the address she is encouraging people to send their thoughts to the water managers:

Suwanee River Water Management District board members
9225 County Road 49
Live Oak, FL 32060


Listen to the full show here. The springs water segment is the second half of the show.


Meanwhile, the Financial Times is reporting that a Swiss consumer group is attempting to purchase Nestlé’s water business for $4 billion.


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