January not only marks the beginning of a new year, but the beginning of a new administration in the governor’s office, 38 new legislators, and a new director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Much of Des Moines Water Works’ (DMWW) effort will revolve around water resource and infrastructure management and protection education from the perspective of a drinking water utility.
Some specific legislative and regulatory issues DMWW will be monitoring include potential changes to Iowa Code regulating levee and drainage districts with emphasis on more transparency and accountability of the Drainage and Wetland Landscape Initiative being implemented by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. DMWW will be watching for legislation that has the potential to change the configuration and/or authority of the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC).
DMWW will be monitoring the likelihood of continuing the Water Resources Coordinating Council (WRCC). The utility supports the Council as the mechanism to coordinate all water programs and funding at the state and federal level. The Rebuild Iowa Office (RIO) established following the 2008 floods is scheduled to sunset in 2011. DMWW supports some form of the RIO continuing in the future as they have done an exemplary job of coordinating flood relief and in bringing recovery funds to Iowa.
On the federal level, DMWW will provide comments on the 2012 Farm Bill relating to conservation programs and funding with the ability to improve water quality in the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds.
The Raccoon River Watershed Master Plan is scheduled for completion in June 2011. Public comments will be requested on the draft plan early in 2011. DMWW will seek partners to institutionalize an implementation structure that will implement Plan recommendations. Information regarding the Plan may be found at http://agren-inc.com/raccoon/raccoon.html.