At issue on Tuesday, August 13, at the Suwannee River Water Management District Board (Board) was several people calling upon the Board to deny a permit renewal to Seven Springs Water Partnership to withdraw water from near Ginnie Springs in order to sell bottled water.
Seven Springs draws water and sells to Nestle, whose plant is close by. Several articles have appeared in newspapers and here in our newsletter protesting further water extractions from impaired these waters in recovery.
Isaac Augspurg Garth Brewster Amanda Sapp all speak for denial
Nestle gives indications of planning bulk transfer and may use the limit of nearly four hundred twenty-one million gallons per year, much less than previous owners of the plant.
Additional pumping is the last thing we need to get our springs and rivers restored.
Nestle claims they draw water only from sustainable sources, and if that is true, they will certainly go elsewhere, as the Santa Fe River and the Ginnie Springs complex are and have not been anywhere near sustainable. The springs and the river have both diminished in flow constantly over the past decades. The fact that the water management authorities have deemed them impaired and in recovery is proof that they have not been sustained.
A good bit of time was taken up at this meeting by the Board debating terminology describing Water Resource Caution Areas as they appear in the Water Supply Assessment (2015-2035) document. This item was not on the agenda.
Some Board members felt uneasy with the word “caution,” as it might be misunderstood by the public, and cause them to think the water supply might be in danger. After lots of debate, the Board voted to change “caution area” to “planning area” but with a disclaimer at the bottom of the page explaining that they really meant “caution.”
This may seem silly and a lot of time spent on something unimportant. However, it is indicative of a serious situation regarding our Board in Live Oak, and this situation is that the board is in denial regarding the seriousness of North Florida’s water supply. Mike Roth, Merrillee-Malwitz-Jipson and your historian all tried to explain to the board the consequences of underestimating our problems.
OSFR members, along with Lu Merritt of Ichetucknee Alliance, have done this before, hoping to have some day a good result.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-