On Monday, January 9, the opening gavel will fall, and Iowa’s 2017 state legislative session will begin. Legislators will continue to grapple with the complex and costly issues associated with improving Iowa’s water quality. Des Moines Water Works is committed to being part of the solution and has unveiled its top legislative priorities aimed at restoring and protecting source water quality in the Raccoon River Watershed. Proposed solutions include:
- Allocate adequate, sustained funding for a statewide water quality plan that holds the largest contributors accountable, leverages public-private partnerships and doesn’t divert funding from other vital state services.
- Implement a statewide, watershed-based approach, rather than a county-by-county approach, to treating Iowa water quality. Set a timeline for pollution reductions; target and prioritize the most urgent areas; fund and implement water quality monitoring at the sub-watershed level to assess progress; and guarantee public access to water quality data. Transparency and accountability help ensure that limited public resources are used wisely and effectively.
- Prioritize the entire Raccoon River Watershed for immediate action. Allocate funding to implement a long-term plan that includes full-time,
permanent coordinators; infrastructure; targeted practices in the
watershed; measures of progress; and water quality monitoring. Watershed Management Authorities are appropriate mechanisms for implementing the Raccoon River plan.
- Protect public health by updating agricultural tile drainage laws; i.e. require consideration of environmental and health impacts; ensure edge-of-field mitigation; and implement water quality monitoring at outlets to public waterways.
Des Moines Water Works is committed to protecting the health of 500,000 central Iowans by providing safe, abundant and affordable drinking water and will continue to pursue collaborative efforts, legal remedies, and legislative solutions that ensure cleaner source water for our customers. The year 2017 is said to be the “year of water,” and Des Moines Water Works looks forward to helping craft a plan that results in meaningful improvement in Iowa waterways.