Posts Tagged ‘Iowa Legislation’January 16, 2012
Water Day at the Iowa State Capitol is January 17, 2012, and Des Moines Water Works will be there on behalf of the approximately 500,000 people in DMWW’s service area.
Every Year, DMWW sees Water Day as an opportunity to talk with legislators from Central Iowa and across the state about improving and protecting water resources in the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers, the sources of water for DMWW drinking water. Reducing nutrients, bacteria, and algae blooms in our source waters helps protect public health and contain the cost of treating drinking water for our customers.
This is also an opportunity to discuss protecting the utility’s $352 million of infrastructure from flood events – infrastructure owned by the citizens of Des Moines. In 1993, the Fleur Drive Treatment Plant was flooded and DMWW was not able to provide drinking water to customers for approximately 10-14 days. Since 2008, more than 65-feet of river bank have been lost at the L.D. McMullen Treatment Plant well field site, putting several wells at risk for damage. More frequent (and intense) rainfall events and expeditious movement of water off the landscape through tiling, have exacerbated flooding. The connectivity of surface water, ground water and soils exist on all levels and need to be managed as a system. The power of moving water, whether a raindrop or a torrent of flood water, can be better managed in Iowa.
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.