Water Bottling Plant Gets Nod From NFWMD

The water bottling battle continues, but one hurdle has been crossed by the local couple wanting to build a water bottling plant near Wakulla Springs.

In a unanimous decision, the governing board of The Northwest Florida Water Management District approved a permit for Wakulla County residents Dan and Ruth High to build a water bottling plant. But not without opposition from residents attending Thursday's public hearing.

Madeleine Hirsiger- Carr, Ph.D. of Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park said, "Water is part of the commons. Like air, is essential to all of life. To pump it and to sell it for private gain to me, is completely contrary to the benefit of the public as a whole."

A Wakulla County resident said, "There are documented cases all over this county of regions and private wells that were de-watered because of various kinds of withdrawal activity."

The permit allows the Highs to pump up to 70,900 gallons a day. The bottling plant would be built on the High's property, about a mile from the vent of Wakulla Springs, which raises environmental concerns for some.

A lawyer speaking for the Highs says it would bring only good.

Allison DeFoor, Consultant, said, "This could be a very important resource for a county that historically has had little, if any, economic base, except to become the affordable housing solution for Leon County. That's not an environmental future and that's not an economic future for Wakulla County."

After reviewing a data report, the governing board determined the water use recommended is reasonable and will not harm water resources of the area. Now that water management has given approval, the next step is to go before the Wakulla County Commission.

Another public hearing will be held in Wakulla County October 3. The exact place and time to be announced.