Archive for January, 2016

January 25, 2016

Community Sponsorships

Des Moines Water Works is committed to being a vital contributor to the betterment of our community. We will consider contributions and sponsorships with external organizations that advance our mission, vision and strategic initiatives.  Visit for more information and examples of requests that will and will not be considered.

DMWW MissionThe guidelines provided below are aimed at ensuring that our community giving and involvement meet the following goals:

  1. Provide value to both Des Moines Water Works and the community.
  2. Reflect appropriate and accountable use of public funds.
  3. Strengthen Des Moines Water Works’ outreach efforts.
  4. Enhance Des Moines Water Works’ reputation for leadership in the environment.

Sponsorship and Contribution Guidelines and Considerations:*

Support the communities Des Moines Water Works serves through contributions and sponsorships to civic, nonprofit, education, and business programs, activities and events that:

  • Build awareness and appreciation among the public for the value of water as a vital resource.
  • Build awareness for source water quality and quantity.
  • Align with our missions, strategic goals and annual budget.
  • Build support for our core business objectives.
  • Help build brand awareness of Des Moines Water Works’ mission, vision and value to the community.

*All requests for contributions and sponsorships are subject to budgetary limitations.

How to Submit a Sponsorship Request:

  • Requests must be submitted for consideration at least 60 days prior to the event or activity for which funding is requested.
  • All requests for in-kind or financial support must be made using the Sponsorship Request Form available at
  • After funds are allocated, a follow-up report of the event, program or activity will be required.


Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us January 21, 2016

Trumpeter Swan Soiree at Maffitt Reservoir

Trumpeter SwanTrumpeter swans were once common in Iowa, but were gone from the state by the late 1880s.  By the early 1930s, only 69 Trumpeter Swans remained in the lower 48 states.  As the largest North American waterfowl, these magnificent all-white birds can weigh up to 32 pounds with an 8-foot wingspan. Public support is vital in restoring Trumpeter Swans to Iowa.

The public is invited to a Trumpeter Swan Soiree at the Des Moines Water Works’ Dale Maffitt Reservoir and at Walnut Woods State Park lodge on Saturday, January 30.  Dale Maffitt Reservoir is located on the southwest edge of Des Moines Des Moines metro area.  From the intersection of I-35 and Hwy #5; travel 1.5 miles east to South 35th Street (exit 201), travel 1/8th mile south on South 35th Street, then 2 miles west on Maffitt Lake Road, Dale Maffitt Reservoir is located on the south side of the road.

There will be opportunities to view the Trumpeter Swans through spotting scopes and witness random swan feeding and flying sessions at the Dale Maffitt Reservoir.  Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Polk and Dallas County Conservation staff will be giving ten-minute outdoor presentations every half-hour beginning at 10:30 until 1:30 p.m.  Hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies, grilled hot dogs and other snacks will be provided free of charge with donations accepted for swan care.

Programs will also be given indoors at the Walnut Woods State Park lodge beginning at 10:30 a.m. Snacks and drinks will be available. Des Moines Water Works will present, “Trumpeting the Cause: Water Quality in Iowa,” at 11:30 a.m.   For a complete list of programs, visit

This event is being sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Polk and Dallas County Conservation Boards, Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines Parks and Recreation, Walnut Woods State Park, Trumpeter Swan Society, Blank Park Zoo, Christian Photo and Keller Williams Realty.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Maffitt Reservoir, Parks January 18, 2016

Water Quality Monitoring and Public Data

As consumers, we think of “nutrients” as something good and even necessary to support maximum crop yields.  But pollution occurs when the amount of nutrients present or applied to land are more than can be used by plants.  Excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) that are discharged into our water are wasted resources and pose significant, costly risks to human health and the environment, both here in Iowa and the Gulf of Mexico.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Des Moines Water Works is required to meet the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for the maximum contaminate level (MCL) in its finished drinking water. The MCL standard for nitrate (a form of nitrogen) is 10 mg/L (or 10 parts per million).  The health risks associated with nitrate contamination above MCL include Methaemoglobinemia, or also known as “blue baby syndrome,” where infants under six months of age who consume water over 10 mg/L may lose the ability to transport oxygen. It is unknown how higher nitrate levels affect the broader population, but researchers are studying potential impacts.  When nitrate concentrations in Des Moines Water Works’ source waters (Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers) are above 10 mg/L, the utility must operate a costly nitrate removal facility in order to meet the Safe Drinking Water Standard for its finished drinking water.  In addition to public health risks to drinking water, nitrate pollution also contributes to the hypoxic conditions in public waters, including the Gulf of Mexico’s “Dead Zone.”

Water Quality

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy was introduced in 2012 with a stated goal to eventually reduce the state’s contribution of nutrients in rivers, streams and lakes by 45%.  However, in order to see those results many things need to happen – including agricultural accountability, effective monitoring and sustained funding.

Source water quality is a vital interest of Des Moines Water Works, which has been increasingly threatened by agricultural pollution.  Because of this interest, Des Moines Water Works is pleased to recognize progress in water quality research and monitoring of Iowa’s rivers, lakes and streams, by initiatives currently being developed by the IIHR – Hydroscience and Engineering program at the University of Iowa, headed by Dr. Larry Weber.  IIHR has been a worldwide leader in hydrology and fluids-related research for nearly a century.  The IIHR is focused on science-based research, independent of Iowa Board of Regents’ bias.

Research at IIHR includes a network of 28 water quality monitoring sites throughout Iowa. State-of-the-art remote sensors provide near real-time data (every 15 minutes), that measure nitrate, dissolved oxygen, water temperature, specific conductance, and pH.  Researchers at IIHR have also developed an easy-to-use web platform, the Iowa Water-Quality Information System (IWQIS), to disseminate and interpret the sensor data.  IWQIS displays near real-time data on nitrate and other water-quality variables from in-stream sensors across Iowa in a user-friendly interface.  This new information makes it possible for all interested Iowans to use a science-based approach when making decisions that affect water quality.  Des Moines Water Works encourages citizens to visit to view this interactive tool containing real-time water conditions and historical data.

wqi-map2 2

IIHR’s monitoring network will expand to 55 sites in 2016. Coverage will include all the state’s major rivers. For the first time, water quality researchers will be able to quantify many important parameters, including the total amount of nitrate leaving Iowa via the state’s rivers and the effectiveness of specific nitrate mitigation efforts.

Des Moines Water Works remains committed to protecting Iowa’s water by holding agriculture accountable for environmental protection, just like any other business who discharges into Iowa’s waterways.  The water quality monitoring and public data collected and compiled by IIHR and presented by the IWQIS are important steps to assess the condition of Iowa’s waterways, quantify the effectiveness of water quality efforts, and track progress toward meeting water quality improvement goals.  Please support IIHR’s leadership in science-based environmental protection.


Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Water Quality