In the “it’s freakin’ about time” category, Florida water bottlers (Nestle among them) may have to start paying a “severance” tax for the water they pump from aquifers. Currently bottlers pay only for the permits to pump the water (typically a couple hundred dollars), a situation even Republican politicos want changed.
This from the Miami Herald (read the whole story here):
In a rural North Florida town where the water tower bears the motto ”Tiny but Proud,” residents have a big secret: They give the cold, clear spring water that bubbles up from the aquifer below their soil to the nation’s largest bottled water company — for free.
Every day, Nestle Waters of North America sucks up an estimated 500,000 gallons from Madison Blue Springs, a limestone basin one mile north of town. It pipes the 70-degree water to its massive bottling plant and distribution center, fills 102,000 plastic containers an hour, pastes on Deer Park or Zephyrhills labels, boxes it up and ships half of it out of state.
The cost to the company for the water: a one-time $150 local water permit. Like 22 other bottled water companies in Florida, including giants Coca Cola and Pepsi Co., Nestle’s profit is 10 to 100 times the cost of each bottle. And the payment to Florida? Not a dime.
USA Today weighs in with Florida may charge bottlers for water:
Gov. Charlie Crist wants Florida’s water bottlers to start paying for the water they pump from aquifers in the state, The Miami Herald reports.
Outside the rural north Florida town of Lee, “every day, Nestle Waters of North America sucks up an estimated 500,000 gallons from Madison Blue Springs,” the paper says. You probably know it as Deer Park.
The company paid a one-time permit fee of $150. It’s one of 23 water bottlers in the state that doesn’t pay for their water, the Herald reports. Now Crist and some state lawmakers want to charge 6 cents a gallon.
That would translate to $56 million in the first year alone, money that would fund state water projects.
Florida’s Capital News Service had this to say:
Millions of gallons of Florida water are piped from the ground, bottled and shipped to other states every day. The state gets nothing. But as Mike Vasilinda tells us, More than 20 companies that bottle Florida water have gotten the Governor’s attention.
While bottlers (predictably) cry foul, several articles noted the disparity between asking residents to reduce water usage (due to drought) while water bottlers continue to send water out of state – for which the public receives nothing.