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Niagara Bottling Asks to Nearly Double its Take from the Floridan Aquifer

September 17, 2013 | WMFE - Niagara Bottling wants to nearly double its water take from the Floridan aquifer. The bottled water company has applied to the St. Johns River Water Management District to expand its daily use from 484,000 gallons to 910,000 gallons. That's angering some Central Floridians.

Niagara says it wants to take most of its water from the lower Floridan aquifer, which it says would be less damaging to the environment.

Peggy Cox serves on the Lake County Water Authority's board of trustees. She says the request comes at a time when Central Floridians are asked to conserve.

"And they're going to give more water from the aquifer to a commercial company who's then going to put it in a plastic bottle and resell it. And the whole scenario just makes people angry."

Cox's district includes Niagara's Central Florida plant.

Tim Loucks is a city councilman in Groveland, which in 2009 bitterly challenged Niagara's water request.

He supports the company. He says the city needs more reclaimed water, and this would boost its supply.

"What a lot of people don't realize, in the bottling process 40 to 70 percent I've been told by staff comes back in a waste stream into Groveland's wastewater treatment plant. That increases our availability of reclaimed water."

The water district will first determine whether the company's application is complete before it makes a final decision.

By 2035 Central Florida's demand for water is expected to exceed what the Floridan aquifer can provide.

Niagara is one of seven bottled water companies drawing more than 2 million gallons daily from the aquifer.

The water district says that's less than 1 percent of all the water used.


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