Updated: August 19, 2009 at 12:00 am
Chaffee County officials today approved a permit for Nestle Waters North America to tap natural springs along the Arkansas River for its Arrowhead brand of bottled water.
The proposal by the world's largest food and beverage maker divided the community in the county, as some viewed it as a water grab with no benefit to the local economy.
But county commissioners voted 3-0 to issue a 1041 land-use permit, with a host of conditions they said will address the concerns.
Nestle Waters will draw 65 million gallons a year from springs south of Johnson Village. It has a deal for the city of Aurora to release that much water back into the Arkansas River.
The company draws water from 50 springs around the country, but this will be the first in Colorado. Nestle says it plans to tap several other springs in the state.