LIVE OAK, Fla. — A state water board approved a controversial plan Tuesday to bottle water from one of Florida’s most popular natural springs.
The permit will allow Nestle Waters North America to pump and bottle about a million gallons a day from Ginnie Springs.
The Suwanee River Water Management District previously denied the permit, but lost a recent court challenge.
Nestle must pay a one-time, $115 fee to use the water, but after that, the water is free.
The company has said the additional pumping will not harm the springs. Nestle already pumps water from several other Florida springs, as do other water bottling companies.
However, opponents say Florida's beloved springs, already suffering from increased pollution and decreased flow, will suffer irreparable harm from the additional water withdrawals.
Opponents vowed to continue to oppose the operation.