The District lost this legal challenge based on the wrong issues. The permit was not challenged for failing the public interest requirement, or the fact that it would draw down the water flow, both sound, sufficient reasons to deny.
There is still time to send a post card asking for denial to:
SRWMD BOARD MEMBERS
9225 CR 49
LIVE OAK, FL 32060
Please add your address and put on a .36 cent stamp. Just write NO PERMIT or whatever you like.
The Gainesville Sun does not provide a link to this article.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum
Judge: Nestle should get more water
Company wants to pump from Ginnie Springs
Gainesville Sun USA TODAY NETWORK Jan. 27, 2021
A permit should be granted to enable Nestle to bottle up to 984,000 gallons of water a day from the aquifer at Ginnie Springs, an administrative law judge recommended.
Judge G.W. Chisenhall of the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings found that Seven Springs Water Co. met requirements to pump the water for Nestle, siding with it over a contention by the Suwannee River Water Management District that the standards were not met.
Kent Koptiuch, Natural Resources Manager, Nestlé Waters North America, said in an email the company was pleased with the recommendation.
“The Judge applied the scientific evidence and the law to rule that the permit renewal should be issued to Seven Springs,”
Koptiuch said. “(Nestle) will continue to take great care to help ensure the amount of water we purchase from Seven Springs is sustainable and will not adversely impact the springs or surrounding wetlands.”
The issues did not directly revolve around whether the volume of water sought in the renewed permit would harm the Ginnie Springs/Santa Fe River system, where water levels are declining.
Instead, the case brought by Seven Springs centered primarily on whether it provided adequate information sought by the district on the pumping, the agreement between Seven Springs and Nestle, a market analysis for bottled water, the operation of the bottling plant and other issues….
Seven Springs is associated with Ginnie Springs Outdoors, a facility on the Santa Fe River that includes camping, equipment rentals and recreational activities in the water and on land.
It has long had a permit for pumping to the various owners of the adjacent bottling plant, which was bought by Nestle at the end of 2018.
Historically about 265,900 gallons a day have been pumped from the Seven Springs wells.
Originally Seven Springs wanted a renewed permit for 1.152 million gallons a day with Nestle intending to expand its bottling there.
That volume was reduced during the permitting and legal processes.
Water district staff and legal officials are reviewing the recommendation, said spokeswoman Lindsey Covington. A special Governing Board meeting will be held to determine the final order.
The environmental group Our Santa Fe River, which opposed the permit and at one point joined the case, was critical of the water district’s handling of the permit review in the wake of Chisenhall’s recommendation.
“In the opinion of Our Santa Fe River, a combination of sloppy and inadequate vetting of the permit application by the SRWMD in both 1994 and 2019 coupled with laws and rules that refer to ‘public interest’ without providing a proper definition has led to this outcome,” it said in a statement.