Should Florida Reign In The Bottling Of Water In Our State?

Should Florida reign in bottling water in our state? 

Bottom Line:Generally, when we’re talking about bottled water issues we're talking about the bottles themselves. From the recently realized proliferation of micro-plastics that we’re consuming with our ever-growing intake of bottled water to the bottles themselves that’re often discarded irresponsibly – including ending up in our waterways. Related – I pull more plastic bottles out of the intracoastal than straws these days. But that’s not what this story is about... 

In the latest report/study from the Florida Springs institute, we’ve got a significant and growing issue with the tapping of Florida’s springs for bottled water. Among the key highlights in the study... 

  • Over sixty years water extraction from Florida’s springs increased 400%
  • Spring flows are now 32% lower than sixty years ago as a result
  • Several springs are now dry from water extraction
  • The overall spring health in Florida is now a “D-plus”

This is the kind of stuff that’s generally off our radar. It’s kind of the Florida springs equivalent of toxic algae. If the toxic algae forms in Lake O’, it’s a huge environmental issue and risk but it wasn’t taken seriously until it was released into waterways most people use and see before it became a hot button issue. This one likewise is out of sight and out-of-mind for most of us at this point, but it doesn’t make it a less significant issue. The Institute laid out a recommended action plan to deal with the rapidly growing threat to Florida’s springs. It includes...

  • Reduce regional groundwater extractions by 50 percent or more as needed to restore average spring flows to 95 percent of their historic levels
  • Reduce nitrogen loading to springsheds from fertilizer and human/animal wastewater disposal by 50 to 90 percent 
  • Eliminate or mitigate structural alterations affecting springs health
  • Curtail the widespread use of herbicides for aquatic plant control in springs and spring run ecosystems
  • Determine and enforce human carrying capacities for publicly owned springs and reduce recreational impacts as needed to maintain springs ecological health.

The question is will anyone pay attention to this report? I’ll seek answers before it’s as apparent to use as toxic algae became.

Photo by: Getty Images

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