Nestlé plans to take 1.1 million gallons of water per day from Ginnie Springs, which sits in the Santa Fe River in Florida. Activists, environmentalists, and conservationists are all stepping up to try to stop this proposal as soon as possible.
This natural spring is publicly owned water and the idea that this food giant would take that water away and then sell it back to the public seems corrupt and harmful. Ginnie Springs is home to several species of turtles and the river is said to be too fragile to endure such a draw.
“Every bit of healthy freshwater flowing out from the Floridan aquifer is necessary to keep our ecosystems intact, for an abundance of fish, reptile, microorganisms, and waterfowl populations. This important waterway is also vital for the local and state economy as a result of freshwater springs contributing to a thriving recreational tourism destination,” claims Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Santa Fe River board member.
The current permit holder of the natural springs is Seven Springs, who has not drawn more than 260,000 gallons per day. Their permit, however, has expired giving Nestlé the opportunity to gain approval from the Suwannee River water management district.
According to EcoWatch, taxpayer money had been spent to restore the spring in the recent past, giving the residents a sense of ownership and responsibly of the area that they do not want Nestlé to destroy.
The Florida Water Resources Act “declared that water in springs, rivers, and lakes was the property of the state, not of the property owners along them. But the act and later laws did not set a price on water,” says the Gainesville Sun. This means Nestlé can take the water and not have to pay the state for it.
An online forum and petition have been made to stop the proposal before it is too late.
“It’s impossible to withdraw millions of gallons of water and not have an impact. If you take any amount of water out of a glass you will always have less,” says Malwitz-Jipson.