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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Nestle backs away from pumping North Florida river for bottled water



Wacissa The headwaters of North Florida's spring-fed Wacissa River has been the source of an intense local feud over whether to allow Nestle Waters North America to pump water from the spring for use in its Madison County bot­tling plant.

Grassroots lobbying groups mounted an educational campaign to prevent the pumping. Nestle ordered a scientific review. On Wednesday, the company backed off the proposal.

Kent Koptiuch, Florida Natural Resource Manager for Nestlé Waters North America said the company spent a year studying the spring to determine if the water discharge was "sufficiently abundant and sustainable to serve as a spring source for our company." It concluded that seasonal low flows "do not meet our strict selection criteria for a stable, sustainable water supply."

Here's the statement from one of the company's lobbyists, Associated Industries of Florida Vice President Jose Gonzalez:  

“For more than a year, Nestle Waters North America has invested significant time and resources into a careful scientific evaluation of a spring source along the Wacissa River to support the operation of its Madison County manufacturing facility. After a thorough review of the data collected from the potential source, the science concluded this particular spring was not viable for the company’s use. 

"Nestle Waters has a strong record as a responsible steward of Florida’s natural resources and a committed community partner. As an organization that has long been committed to environmental sustainability issues and the future of Florida’s waters, Associated Industries of Florida applauds their methodical, science-based approach to determining the viability of this spring source, as well as their honest, transparent engagement with the local community.”  

[Last modified: Thursday, July 28, 2011 8:42am]


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