Nestle Waters NA Faces Struggle Over Permit to Draw 1.2M Gallons of Spring Water a Day

by | Aug 2, 2019

(Credit: Zephyrhills Water)

Nestle Waters North America is facing opposition from environmentalists and the local water district regarding the company’s request for a new permit to draw water from Ginnie Springs in Gilchrist County, Florida. The permit would allow the company to withdraw as much as 1.152 million gallons of water a day from the springs, which flows into the Santa Fe River, for bottling.

A current permit allows the company to withdraw that amount each day, but reported water use has never been that high, according to the Gainesville Sun. Highest water use over the past four years was less than 0.27 million gallons per day.

The Suwannee River Water Management District wants a market analysis that justifies the need for the withdrawal, an evaluation of the impact on wetlands of the proposed withdrawal, and proof that the withdrawal will not change water levels or flows of the spring, among other things.

The water withdrawal permit is actually owned by local processor Seven Springs Water Company. Nestle Waters, which bought its Ginnie Springs plant from Ice River Springs Marianna LLC in January, said at the time that it is looking forward to using the 300,000 square foot plant to help it “more efficiently serve current and future customers of Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water and Nestlé Pure Life bottled water brands.”

Non-profit organization Our Santa Fe River says that every drop of water in the springs is vital to maintaining the river’s health. Companies that withdraw water from the springs pay fees for withdrawal permits, but the water itself is free. 

This isn’t the first time that Nestle Waters North America has come under fire from Our Santa Fe. A recent article published by the organization claimed that the Nestle Zephyrhills plant’s water contains roughly twice the average amounts of nitrate content of other water bottling plants, and that the levels far exceed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s limits.

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