Florida water management officials approved a permit Tuesday for a company that wants to pump nearly 1 million gallons a day from a spring to make bottled water.
The Suwannee River Water Management District's seven-member board unanimously approved a new permit for Seven Springs Water, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The board had denied the permit last year, but a state administrative law judge later ruled that they must reconsider.
The board’s decision renews an expired water use permit for Seven Springs to provide water from Ginnie Springs, northwest of Gainesville on the Santa Fe River, for bottling operations to Nestlé, which produces the Zephyrhills and Pure Life brands. The company had previously been withdrawing water from the springs in lower amounts.
Nestlé, a Swiss multinational food and beverage company, said the springs could accommodate its pumping and pledged to work with local officials to ensure the spring remains sustainable.
Environmentalists have argued that the bottling operation is a threat to Florida's drinking water and the future of the popular spring.