Protesters gathered in High Springs to protest Nestlé’s plan to bottle more than a million gallons of water from a local natural spring.

A sea of protest signs lined the streets in High Springs, Fl. as water advocates and locals gathered together to protest Nestlé Waters North America’s request to bottle more than 1 million gallons of water a day from Ginnie Springs.

According to the New York Times, there are about 60 springs that flow from Florida’s aquifer systems into the Santa Fe River, which runs through north-central Florida. This waterway provides one of the main sources of drinking water for the entire state.

However, there are fears that this important natural resource is at risk.

Seven Springs Water Co., a water bottling plant in Florida, owns the permit for water use and withdrawal -- and has owned this permit for more than 20 years.

According to Facts About Nestle Water, the company pays Seven Springs for water and has done so since Feb. 2019. The permit would allow Nestlé to take up to 1.152 million gallons from Ginnie Springs per day for use in bottled water without paying the state of Florida, which is about one quarter of one percent of the allowed groundwater in the Suwannee River Water Management District.

While spring water is a renewable resource when managed responsibly, Nestlé still has received criticism for its water bottling practices in other parts of the U.S. In response to the pushback it’s received over its plans for Florida, the company released a statement and a facts page to address concerns.

The Suwannee River Water Management District board is scheduled to vote on the permit this month.

Read more here.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Nestlé Waters North America owned Seven Springs Water Co.

This story has been written and syndicated across GateHouse Media Group's 22 Florida markets.