Nestle needs water to expand, but critics aren’t backing down

 

ginnie sign post nov 30 In: Nestle needs water to expand, but critics aren’t backing down | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Entryway to Ginnie Springs Photo by Jim Tatum

The permit renewal for Seven Springs should be denied.

There is absolutely no reason that the owner of Seven Springs should be allowed to draw down the flow of this spring and lower the water level of the wetlands.  She does not own this water in the spring, nor in the wetlands, nor in the aquifer under the ground.

The public owns this water.  The public has just as much right to go scrape an inch of soil off her 1000 or so acres, or instead, take a little less than one half of one percent of her land and sell it for personal gain.

Just as much right.

With 150,000 signatures, and 15,000  comments to Suwannee River Water Management District, the public has shown their interest.

If the SRWMD can say that this permit is “in the public interest,” then they must be from another planet.

If you feel the outrage that we do, please go to the SRWMD website portal and make comments.

Here is the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) permit portal for anyone who wants to make a comment. https://permitting.sjrwmd.com/srepermitting/jsp/supportAction.do?command=sb2080&prmtNo=2-041-218202-3&projNm=7-Springs+Water&ntc_sent=false

To see the latest on the permit renewal process, go to district permitting portal in the paragraph above.  Then go the RAI link for November.  When you click on the link, the document link may appear at the bottom of your page.  Click on it and you will be taken to the document.  Please be patient as the files are large and may take some time to download.

To make it easier, we have extracted the latest links for you and added them below.  If you want to see all of the procedure, you may open the other links on the portal page.

RAI Response :: Supporting Document

11/01/2019 610KB RAI response        (last Request for Additional Information)
RAI Response :: Supporting Document
11/01/2019 1MB Revised Application
11/01/2019 1MB  Hydro-Wetlands Report
11/01/2019  3MB  Figures
11/01/2019 462KB  APT data
If you want to make a lengthy comment, please email Warren Zwanka, Resource Management Division Director, [email protected] and Hugh Thomas, Executive Director, [email protected]; both are water resource staff in charge of reviewing water use permits at SRWMD.  If you want additional help, contact Mike Roth, President of Our Santa Fe River, [email protected] .

Read the original article here in the Gainesville Sun.

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


 

Nestle needs water to expand, but critics aren’t backing down

Opponents are set to attend the Dec. 10 water management governing board meeting and deliver a petition with more than 150,000 signatures requesting the permit not be granted.

The increased withdrawal of water from Ginnie Springs for Nestlé Waters will have a negligible impact on the spring system and is sought because the company is expanding production at its High Springs bottling plant, a report for a renewed permit states.

Pumping 1.152 million gallons a day will lower the water level in a wetland associated with Ginnie Springs by less than an inch, according to modeling by a consulting firm for Seven Springs Water Co.

The testing included pumping from the aquifer to determine its impact on wetlands associated with Ginnie Springs.

Seven Springs, a company formed by the family that owns Ginnie Springs Park, wants a permit renewal to pump water to a Nestlé bottling plant.

It must pay a small fee for the permit, and Nestlé pays Seven Springs and an undisclosed amount for the water. Neither company pays the state for the water.

The permit application to the Suwannee River Water Management District has resulted in a flood of condemnation from the region, state, U.S. and world.

Nestlé Natural Resource Manager George Ring told The Sun the company’s business depends on a sustainable water source.

“It really doesn’t make much sense for a company to come and dry up that resource or squander that resource,” Ring said. “Our business being water, we put a lot of time and money into making sure it is a sustainable, long-term resource.”

But advocates for the springs and the Santa Fe River system believe it’s folly to allow the company to pump that much water when the system is under a recovery plan to try to ensure enough water will be available to maintain the health of the system.

That recovery plan includes setting minimum water flows and levels in the springs and the river.

Opponents are set to attend the Dec. 10 SRWMD Governing Board meeting and deliver a petition with more than 150,000 signatures requesting the permit not be granted.

The petition will be presented by Sum of Us, a global organization that tries to curb the influence of corporations on the environment.

More than 15,000 people have submitted comments to the district. District spokeswoman Katelyn Potter said a few favor the project but most oppose it.

Fairly typical of many of the comments submitted to the district’s website was this:

“The springs are being pumped out and water volume is down 30%,” wrote Leonard Cohen of Alachua. “Why should we further degrade the quality of our springs so Nestlé can profit off our loss and contribute to further environmental degradation by selling more unbiodegradable plastic bottles. Say no to Nestlé.”

Ginnie Springs in Gilchrist County is one of several springs along County Road 340 in Alachua and Gilchrist counties near High Springs.

Seven Springs has an existing permit to pump up to 1.152 million gallons a day out of the aquifer at Ginnie. However, the various owners of the bottling plant have historically never pumped that much.

Nestlé bought the plant at the end of 2018. It has two bottling lines and plans to expand to four, giving it the capacity to produce more water.

Seven Springs hired Geosyntec Consultants to try to determine the future impact of additional water withdrawal. Geosyntec did a 35-day pumping test the summer of 2018 and concluded that the impact would be less than an inch.

But the district has requested more information about the testing, including a demonstration that the aquifer was sufficiently stressed during the pumping. The district also wants information on how Santa Fe River levels, which were high when the testing was done, may have affected the results.

Also sought by the district is more information on Nestlé’s claim that demand for bottled water is growing, a justification for the need to pump more.

The potential to withdraw 1.152 million gallons a day has already been accounted for in the recovery plan, but Nestlé must still show why it needs more water, said district water program engineer Stefani Weeks.

“They have to have both the capacity to handle that water and the demand,” Weeks said. “They can’t just say bottled water has a market. They have to show us the market analysis that told them they can process and sell that much water.”

The agenda for the Dec. 10 meeting has not been set, but Potter said Wednesday nothing regarding the permit is on it. A vote on the permit will depend on how quickly the information sought by the district is provided and then analyzed.

4 Comments

  1. Follow the money, who stands to gain the most here? Why is it always to big guy overpowering the little guy? I have to pay for everything I get why shouldn’t they?

  2. Let Nestle explore the conversion of seawater into drinking water. They are certainly one entity that has the resources and finances to make this experiment profitable.

  3. Nestles doesn’t need to expand. Nestle wants to expand. There is a big difference. We need all of our water to help the springs recover as they are being stressed to the point where recovery soon may be possible. It makes no sense to allow the owners of Ginnie Springs to sell our water for a pittance to one of the largest and most profitable corporations in the world. Deny the permit.

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