Nestle leaders say they need more West Michigan water, for their Ice Mountain water bottling operation in Stanwood.

They have asked the Department of Environmental Quality for permission to withdraw more water from a well in Osceola Township near Evart.

“Currently permitted at 250 gallons a minute,” explains Nestle Waters North America Resource Manager Arlene Anderson Vincent. “We want to increase it to 400 gallons a minute. We are confident the well can support 400 gallons per minute.”

Nestle leaders say demand for bottled water is growing and they want to make sure they have a reliable supply for their bottling plant.

At an open house the company hosted in Canadian Lakes Tuesday night, many citizens said they support the plan.

“I think they are explaining it quite well,” said Bob Dunn.

But some fear all those millions of gallons going into bottles will drain streams and lakes in the area.

“Our ponds have gone down,” said Stanwood native Jessica Dukes Sutherland. “I would say the levels have gone down significantly since the bottling began.”

“I don’t see that is an issue,” disagreed Mecosta County Commissioner Linda Howard. “I represent this area. The science does not really go there and I don’t think that is an impact we will see.”

The DEQ has extended the public comment period on the Ice Mountain water withdrawal request until March 3. They are also planning a public hearing on the issue.