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CITY OF HIGH SPRINGS
CITY COMMISSION MEETING
THURSDAY OCTOBER 24 6:30 PM
HIGH SPRINGS CITY HALL
23718 W U.S. Hwy 27
On Thursday Oct. 24 at 6:30 in High Springs City Hall, the City Commissioners will consider adopting a Resolution urging the Suwannee River Water Management District to deny a permit renewal by Seven Springs Water Co.
We are on the agenda, which you can see at this link.
The denial of this permit is extremely important to our area’s well being. There are many, many reasons to deny this permit. Please consider the following:
Bottled Water Use Permit at Ginnie Springs
This is a 20 year old water use permit for bottling spring water that needs to get a new permit because it expired June 2019. The entire allocation Seven Springs Water Company requested is 1,152,000 gallons of water for single use bottled water purposes taken directly from a conduit connected to Ginnie Spring.
There are two 10″ wells on the Ginnie Springs Outdoors property where the water is taken then put into a pipeline to the bottling plant on CR 340. The access to this pipeline is part of the lease arrangement with the bottling plant to secure the spring water from Seven Springs Water Company.
There have been three bottling companies (AquaPenn, CCDA, and Ice River Springs) that have owned the plant over the time span of 20 years. The maximum water extracted for bottling at this plant has been an average of 265,900 gallons per day. At no point in time has Seven Springs Water Company owned the bottling plant, they only own the water use permit.
Columbia County Board of County Commissioners took a stand opposing the Seven Springs Water Company permit via Resolution, October 3, 2019.
Alachua County voted to send a letter recommending a limit of 186,130 gallons per day. This was calculated based on daily average use minus 30% that Dr. Bob Knight of the Florida Springs Institute recommends that all existing users need to reduce in order to restore historical spring flows.
The Santa Fe River system is a recharge waterway. Where there are springs, there are sucks, siphons and swallets. The remaining surface freshwater flowing out to sea is absolutely necessary for the estuaries at Cedar Key. The permits being issued at the state water management district are considered a death by a thousand cuts to our freshwater ecosystems.
Florida Statutes dictate that our water managers use the 3 prong test be applied to all aspects of this and all permitting processes. 1. Is it reasonable and beneficial? 2. Does it harm existing users? 3. Is it in the public interest?
Other items to consider:
1. Traffic/Concurrency issues. Many of the water trucks will pass through High Springs headed to I-75. There is a need to address red lights, noise abatement and signage to the facility, as truckers have been known to get lost on our rural roads.
2. Dr. Todd Kincaid Report http://springseternalproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/9-30-09-Kincaid-presentation.pdf)
3. Historical Fort White Gage Station Report 1930 – 2020
5. There are municipality water infrastructure problems in High Springs that need to be fixed first.
6. Bureau of Economic Business Research shows growth in inland Florida, giving our water away for free does not serve the greater good.
Finally, we should consider and compare the economic impact of this small business versus tourism based on our springs. The following study (“Economic Contributions and Ecosystem Services of Springs in the Lower Suwannee and Santa Fe River Basins of North-Central Florida, by UF”) shows the strength of the economic force from our springs.
Tourism is by far the most important activity in the High Springs area, with divers and kayakers coming from many countries of the world.
Talk about the potential damage to the springs and from further withdrawals has appeared in numerous newspaper articles in and outside of Florida, as well as in many of our posts here on this website. The springs and Santa Fe River need to be restored to its former strength and taking more water fr0m them makes no sense.
The river needs you.
Please come to High Springs to this meeting to urge the commissioners to protect our springs and river and to say “NO” to Nestle.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-