Nestlé Global is the largest packaged foods company in the world, with investments in everything from Garden of Life organic vitamins to mineral waters like Pellegrino, and of course its highly controversial bottled water division, Nestlé Waters.
Nestlé Waters has been under fire from activists and conscious consumers alike ever since its former CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe’s assertion was made public, during which he said that only a little over one percent of water should is a “human right.”
The company has continued to bulldoze local citizens in pursuit of siphoning resources for its money-hungry bottled water division, as evidence by its April 2018 deal to siphon 400 gallons of water per minute from rural Michigan springs that Nestlé was able to secure essentially for free thanks to $13 million in tax breaks.
Now, the company has its eyes focused on a naturally abundant springs in Florida, and once again local residents are refusing to back down.
Nestlé Plans to Siphon 1.1 million Gallons Per Day in Florida
As noted in this article from the website EcoWatch.com, Nestlé Waters has made a proposal to take 1.1 million gallons per day from Ginnie Springs, a gorgeous, crystal-clear fresh water paradise that is considered one of the best snorkeling spots in the Sunshine State.
Under a 20-year permit obtained from the Seven Springs Water Company, about 1.2 million gallons per day is allowed to be extracted from the location. Nestlé Waters currently pays the company for water extracted at Ginnie Springs and would continue if the permit is extended for another five years, CBS News 10 out of Tampa, Florida reported.
The packaged food giant wants to take publicly owned water and sell it back to the public, a report from the Guardian said.
If the plans go through, there will be considerably less water in this revered natural area when it’s all said and done. The springs are located on the Sante Fe River, and serve as a home for several different species of nesting turtles among many other
Environmental groups say the river is considered to be too fragile to serve the interests of the massive multinational company, because it is currently listed as “in recovery” by the Suwannee River water management district because of years of over-pumping.
The process is also being criticized by residents who say Nestlé will be able to take the state’s water, but not pay the state for it. The Florida Water Resources Act has declared that all the water in the springs, rivers and lakes is the property of the state, but no price has been set on the water, allowing Nestlé to siphon it from the very taxpayers that have been paying to restore it over the years.
“Ginnie Springs is one of Florida’s treasures. It’s loved by locals and travelers alike,” said Julienne Wallace, who created a petition against the move.
“Nestlé is known for destroying places like Ginnie Springs and its breaking our hearts! PLEASE DON’T GIVE NESTLE THE PERMIT TO TAKE WATER FROM GINNIE SPRINGS!!!” she said according to a report in the Gainesville Sun.
The newspaper reached out to Nestlé asking for more information on how much, if anything, they’d be paying the state for the water, but the company declined, saying that they “take environmental stewardship and sustainability very seriously, and are careful to plan ahead, measure, document, and diversify water resources.”
Meanwhile, activists continue to circulate the petition, which is just shy of its goal of 10,000 signatures.
The question of course is whether it will be enough considering Nestlé’s deep pockets, and its history of getting its way in places like Michigan, where over 80,000 people signed a petition against the siphoning of water on public lands, compared to just 75 people in favor.
“Ginnie Springs is far too beautiful to let money ruin it! Kick Nestlé out of our waters!” wrote one commenter, Tim Sommers. The petition can be viewed and signed here.