Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) are urging Congress to link conservation compliance requirements and federal farm subsidies and/or crop insurance to efforts by farmers to minimize negative water quality impacts of their operations, AMWA and a coalition of water utility, conservation and environmental organizations said in a policy statement released last week at a press conference in Washington, D.C.
Under the banner of the “Healthy Waters Coalition,” AMWA and other groups also called on Congress to prioritize nutrient runoff control as a primary goal in watersheds impaired by nutrients and to facilitate monitoring of nutrient reductions as part of ongoing state and federal water quality monitoring programs. Lawmakers are currently working to put together the 2012 Farm Bill, so the policy statement is intended to shape their work on the Conservation Title.
Speaking at a press conference marking release of the report, AMWA Executive Director Diane VanDe Hei stressed the importance of keeping nutrient pollution out of drinking water sources, where it can increase treatment costs for downstream drinking water utilities and pose public health threats if not properly removed. While drinking water systems will always do what is necessary to keep their finished water safe, VanDe Hei said, “the most effective solution is to keep excessive nutrients out of source water in the first place.”
The complete policy statement is available on AMWA’s Legislative Information webpage at www.amwa.net/cs/leginfo (scroll down to category – Farm Bill Reauthorization, March 2012).