Update on threats to Florida’s freshwater springs

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

About two years ago, opponents of a plan to allow a giant corporation to draw more water from Florida’s pristine springs and aquifer suffered a setback.

The food giant Nestlé was working 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.

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

Since then, Nestlé has sold its bottled water division, reportedly for more than $4 billion to BlueTriton.

And recently the Florida Springs Council won their appeal and will be granted a Department of Administrative Hearing on the issuance of the bottled water permit by the Suwannee River Water Management Board members to Seven Springs Water Company.

To talk about the latest developments and about how pollution, development and bottled water are impacting Florida’s freshwater springs, we spoke with Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, a board member with the group Our Santa Fe River.

Listen to the show here:

Watch the interview:

Spring Protection Zone

In November-December of 2022, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) established a Springs Protection Zone for Nichols Spring and its associated spring run in Sumter County.

“The Spring Protection Zone for Nichols Spring will be the first created in Florida. Anchoring, mooring, beaching and grounding of vessels was determined to have caused harm to bank vegetation, cypress trees and aquatic grasses in and around the spring. These activities will be prohibited within the Springs Protection Zone,” according to a press release from FWC.

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