State Rep. Matt Willhite (D-District 86) recently filed HB 861, along with State Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-District 40), who filed SB 1112. This proposed legislation would impose fees on bottled water operators for extracting water from state waters, including water from Florida springs. The proceeds would be deposited into the Wastewater Treatment and Stormwater Management Revolving Loan Trust Fund, which will be eligible for federal matching funds, and be used for water infrastructure projects throughout the state.
“Florida is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, with roughly 900 new residents every day,” Willhite said. “With such a growing population, we must ensure that all natural resources are shared fairly and equitably. Water is our most precious resource, and it is limited. Therefore, we must make sure that we enact policies that reflect the increasing pressures on our water supply so that we are sustaining these resources for all Floridians.”
Taddeo also commented on the issue.
“It is unconscionable that certain corporate water bottling companies exploit our state water, without paying their fair share, while all other companies who bottle water through municipalities pay for their water,” she said. “This is a corporate welfare loophole that has allowed these companies to exploit our precious water supply. This bill will help us bring to an end this abusive practice.”