Water Quality Proposal Would Include Data, Accountability

Apr 5, 2016

The Iowa House continues working on legislation to fund water quality improvements at what some are calling historic levels.   The House bill would appropriate $750 million over the next 13 years, what Governor Branstad calls a good start.  

Nitrogen levels in the Raccoon River have prompted a lawsuit from the Des Moines Water Works.  Mike Delaney with the Raccoon River Watershed Association and the Sierra Club says the public needs to know how much nitrogen is in their watersheds.

“We know exactly how much nitrogen is in the water at Sac City, at Jefferson, at Van Meter,” he says. “The loads have been terrible, very high, the last couple of years.  So, I can understand why people don’t want the public to see those loads.”

Representative Pat Grassley says the final bill will include more data for the public.

Rep. Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford)
Credit Joyce Russell/IPR

“As far as having the information in one place, and showing the monitoring that’s going on,” he says.

Grassley says the bill will include some accountability on how water improvements are working.  He says clean water in Iowa is not going to happen overnight.

Iowa is under a federal guideline to cut nitrogen and phosphorus from the water nearly by half, at a cost of as much as $4 billion.   The House bill’s critics say it pits water quality against other budget needs in the state.