Neither Quality nor Quantity Was Sustainable



Nestle’s big hype about only pumping from sustainable sources is contradicted by this information by Dr. Knight that Coca Cola sold out because of the study mentioned below.  That they mislead the public to get what they want may be the norm for Nestle.

Again we say that it is very refreshing to see water science from other than the water districts or DEP, since the science from those agencies usually seems to fit like a glove the needs of those agencies.  And it is true that some of those agencies deliberately choose to ignore outside  pertinent science when it does not fit their goals.

Dr. Knight has several good suggestions that Nestle might consider if they want to improve their tarnished image.

Read the original article here at this link to the Orlando Sentinel.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-

Nestlé must learn to be a good neighbor and help save our springs | Commentary

Guest Columnist |
Sep 28, 2019 |

Nestlé’s recent move into the Florida Springs Heartland of Gilchrist County to bottle water from Ginnie Springs warrants full historical disclosure.

In 2002 Coca-Cola purchased the High Springs water bottling facility, which received “spring water” via a water-use permit held by Seven Springs Water Company. That permit was for the same 1.1 million gallons per day (GPD) currently being sought by Nestlé, but Coca-Cola was only using about 200,000 GPD.

Robert Knight is executive director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute.
Robert Knight is executive director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute. (Courtesy photo)

In 2004, Coca-Cola hired local groundwater experts to provide a risk assessment of the area to measure regional threats to the sustainability of ground and spring water. Ultimately, it was concluded that neither the quality nor quantity of the natural groundwater in the area were sustainable.

Despite Coca-Cola’s investments, they ultimately opted to sell the High Springs bottling plant in 2011. Though it was part of their broader decision to get out of the spring water bottling business altogether, those working closest with them at the time concluded that the Suwannee River Water Management District’s refusal to move toward sustainable groundwater management was a major factor in their decision.

Coca-Cola was followed by two Canadian bottling companies who continued to bottle the same relatively small fraction of the Seven Springs Water Company’s permitted extraction.

Nestlé Waters, the world’s largest water company, is now on our springs’ doorstep and next in line to own and operate the High Springs plant. While the amount of water they wish to bottle at this facility is less than many existing agricultural permits, it represents a five-fold increase compared to the prior bottling operations.

North Florida’s springs are already dying the death of a thousand cuts. One more cut might not be the final one, but it certainly is not acceptable to the millions of visitors who enjoy Florida’s once-amazing springs.

Nestlé has the political clout and financial resources to be a good neighbor in North Florida. If they wish to be trusted and accepted, they must make a significant effort to reduce regional groundwater pumping and nitrogen pollution. Through their political connections they can lobby Florida’s governor to appoint strong environmental voices to the governing boards of the state’s five water management districts.

Nestlé Waters should also use their corporate influence to encourage the pro-development Associated Industries of Florida to push for a fee on all groundwater extractions and nitrogen fertilizer sales.

Finally, with their financial clout Nestlé should buy substantial acreage of existing dairies and other agricultural operations in Florida’s springs region and place those lands in perpetual conservation.

Nestlé’s goal should be to succeed where Coca-Cola failed: To coerce Florida’s environmental agencies to cap groundwater consumption and dramatically reduce the introduction of nitrate to the underground aquifer.

Until Ginnie and the other 1,000-plus springs that make North Florida special show significant increases in their long-term average flows and reductions in their nitrate concentrations, Nestlé and any other extractive or polluting industries are not welcome in the Springs Heartland.

The author is the director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute in High Springs.


1 Comment

  1. We can NOT allow Nestle to exploit public water for profit! The rate at which they plan to remove the water will shock the ecosystem and deplete this wildlife haven. Laws must be put in place to protect these waters by not mislabeling businesses as the people who this river is open and public to. This distasteful move/threat from Nestle must not be tolerated, and I would like your organization, local and state government to put protecting the river from their exploitation at the forefront of your priorities.

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