Following is a letter from the City of Groveland written to Elaine Renick showing appreciation for support in opposing Niagra Bottling Co.’s request to withdraw 176 million gallons of water annually from the Florida aquifer.
From: City of Groveland on behalf of City of Groveland
Sent: Sat 4/18/2009 3:35 AM
To: Renick, Elaine
Subject: Hearing highlights
We appreciate your support and wanted to update you on the highlights from the recent hearing at which the City of Groveland challenged Niagara Bottling Co.’s plans to withdraw 176 million gallons of water annually from our aquifer.
Administrative Judge Bram Canter is expected to make a decision on Groveland’s challenge in the coming weeks.
Going forward, we’ll take our concerns to the St. Johns River Water Management District Board, which will make the ultimate decision on whether to grant Niagara’s permit. And we also plan to talk to state legislators.
Please stay involved and keep up with the latest details at DefendGrovelandsFuture.com. Let’s protect Florida’s future by defending our water resources — together.
Expert testimony showed that Niagara’s proposed and existing uses would damage the area’s wetlands with a “long-term impact to the natural resources.”
Niagara wants to withdraw water from an area that the district has designated as a “Priority Water Resource Caution Area,” meaning that the water supply is already stressed and cannot meet additional demands beyond 2013.
California-based Niagara’s projected annual gross revenues, from withdrawing 484,000 gallons of high quality groundwater a day from the Caution Area, would be $60 million.
Groveland is required to spend over $80,000 per year searching for alternative water resources by 2013. Niagara will not be required to spend any money.
The water bottler already has a source of water outside the Caution Area without tapping into a new supply.
Because of Niagara’s treatment methods, St. Johns water managers say the water bottler does not need the high quality of groundwater it wants to take from the aquifer.
If St. Johns approves Niagara’s permit, over 90,000 gallons a day of high quality groundwater will be immediately converted to waste water. Only about 14% will recharge the aquifer.
Evidence showed Niagara’s annual production of 30 million cases would equal 25% of Groveland’s water withdrawals — substantially higher than any commercial customer served by Groveland — from an area that the district has already designated as stressed.
Although Niagara said in application documents that it would create 200 new jobs, at the hearing evidence reflected only 50 jobs.