Nestlé has come under fire for its plans to bottle more than a million gallons of water a day from natural springs in Florida.
Thousands of protesters are calling for the local water management district to deny the firm’s request of an additional 800,000 gallons -bringing its daily consumption up to 1.152 million gallons a day.
Because the springs are running at levels 30 percent to 40 percent lower than they were decades ago, experts and activists warn that 10 million people and the surrounding natural habitat will be in danger if approved.
Some 9,000 protesters have submitted comments to Seven Springs, a local Florida business involved in passing or denying Nestlé’s request, as they are concerned about the affects the increase will have on the springs and surrounding areas.
However, Rachel Pratt, a representative for Nestlé, told DailyMail.com in an email, ‘Nestle Waters is committed to helping maintain the health and long-term sustainability of Florida’s waterways in the areas where we operate.
‘We work with local, state, and federal agencies to ensure we meet all regulatory requirements, and we have strict procedures in place to help maintain the sustainability of our operations.’
Thousands of protesters are calling for the local water management district to deny Nestlé’s request to take an additional 800,000 gallons -bringing its daily consumption up to 1.152 million gallons a day
‘Nestlé Waters’ purchase of spring water from Seven Springs will always remain within the level of their water use permit, which was granted by the Suwannee River Water Management District.
‘Simply put: it would make absolutely NO sense for Nestlé Waters to invest millions of dollars into local operations just to deplete the natural resources on which our business relies. It would undermine the success of our business and go against every value we hold as a people, Floridians, and as a company.’
‘Our business depends on the quality and sustainability of our shared water resources, and we spend countless hours and millions of dollars each year across the country to help ensure these resources are protected for generations to come.’
Over this period, companies have taken a total of 1.2 million combined, but now Nestlé wants to increase the daily withdrawal to the full amount by 800,000 gallons -and some environmentalists are not sold on Nestlé’s mission of peace.
According to the Florida Springs Institute, the springs are running at levels 30 percent to 40 percent lower than they were decades ago
Mike Roth, president of the environmental group Our Santa Fe River, told DailyMail.com in an email, ‘This is a company with a reputation for continuing to pump in drought-stricken and other water deprived areas.’
‘They have resorted to greenwashing, making unsupported claims about recycling. They have been found over-pumping their permits
‘This is not a friendly neighbor. There is no reason to support the privatization of what has been a public resource.’
Florida is home to more than a thousand freshwater springs, which is valued as a natural habit, place of recreation and a water source for many people.
Roth told DailyMail.com the reduce in flow could diminish the amount of drinking water for some ten million people.
It will affect water quality, as excessive nitrates could make their way into the springs from agricultural and septic mechanisms.
Not to mention the surrounding vegetation and aquatic life will also suffer from the reduced flow of water.
However, Rachel Pratt, a PR representative for Nestle, told DailyMail.com in an email said the daily amount of 1.152 million gallons is small when compared to the total Ginnie Spring’s/Devil Spring system spring flow (approx. half a percent) and Santa Fe River flow (approx. 0.15%).’
Pratt continued to explain that, opposite of what Roth said, the increase will not impact that water quality or recreational or aesthetic qualities.
Over this period, companies have taken a total of 1.2 million combined, but now Nestlé wants to increase the daily withdrawal to the full amount by 800,000 gallons -and some environmentalists are not sold on Nestlé’s mission of peace
‘Surface backflow into the Ginnie Springs complex/Devil’s Spring system is infrequent and caused only by extreme flooding conditions. Due to the small amount of the proposed withdrawal relative to the Ginnie Springs complex/Devil’s Spring system flow, no measurable change in frequency/duration of surface water backflow into the springs will occur,’ she said.
According to the Florida Springs Institute, the springs are running at levels 30 percent to 40 percent lower than they were decades ago.
The Department of Environmental Protection, through the Suwannee River Water Management District, established Minimum Flows and Levels for the river, and since the establishment of those levels the river has never met those minimums.
‘Over time they will destroy the lifestyle of the Ginnie Springs region and the High Springs Area,’ said Roth.
‘They like to say that this is just a continuation of a 20 year old permit, but the reality is that no one has used the permit to capacity in the past, and they will be pumping four times what has been pumped until now.’
They also contribute to the out-of-control plastic pollution problem that the earth is waking to, and their truck traffic – up to 300 additional trucks in and out every day – will clog up roads in downtown High Springs and the surrounding area while adding to air pollution problems.’
‘The jobs they create and the taxes that they pay will be far offset by the drop in tourism as the springs become murkier, greener and less life-sustaining.’