Water

Water is a fundamental resource, and we believe rural communities will play a key role in improving water quality. By promoting stewardship and pursuing policies that improve water quality, build soil health, and protect our natural resources, we hope to ensure clean water for generations of rural Americans.

When water is polluted, our neighbors and communities are put at a disadvantage and public health is threatened. Surface water contamination limits the potential for economic opportunities and groundwater degradation requires costly treatment systems—infrastructure that is often too expensive for many rural communities.

Across rural America, farmers, ranchers, and communities all depend on clean and abundant water to sustain our way of life. Agricultural producers rely on water for productive yields and livestock, communities need water to provide basic services to their residents, and local businesses rely on rivers, lakes, and streams to attract visitors who stimulate the economy.

Important challenges remain in pursuit of clean water in rural places. Increased levels of point source and nonpoint source pollution often put our waterways at risk. Changing weather patterns lead to unpredictable precipitation, forcing many of us to adapt as flooding and droughts become more frequent.

At the Center for Rural Affairs, we aim to elevate the efforts of rural people who are taking action in support of clean water. We advocate for public policies that empower farmers to adopt conservation practices and communities to provide safe drinking water. Ultimately, we work to ensure rural Americans can take pride in the waterways we all depend on.

Iowa Watershed Resource Library

Rural Iowans should be involved in the decisions that impact their futures and we believe that the state’s most effective path to cleaner water includes a strong emphasis on a watershed approach. Click here for a resource library for watersheds across Iowa to inform, assist, and empower those who live within their boundaries.

Water Notes

 

Leveraging Local Funds for Watershed Improvement

As stakeholders in Iowa’s 56 hydrologic unit code 8 (HUC-8) watersheds look to improve resiliency through conservation practice adoption, education and outreach, and long-term planning, securing funds for these activities is often a challenge. This fact sheet contains a list of local strategies Watershed Management Authorities (WMA) members can leverage to attain funding.

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Watershed Planning 101

As Iowa looks to address its water quality problem, enabling success through watershed-level planning and project implementation is a crucial step. Developing a watershed management plan is an early part of the water quality improvement process that enables local buy-in and jump starts action in a watershed.

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Iowa Legislative update - June 23, 2020

This year’s legislative session in Iowa was unprecedented. Taking place in two separate parts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, state lawmakers adjourned for the final time this year on June 14. The final action of the Legislature was to pass a mostly status quo budget that closely aligned with last year’s spending levels. While it was an unusual year and several bills we supported were shelved, all progress wasn’t lost. 

Rural Iowans asked for views on flooding, water quality

Too many times, rural Iowans have been the farmers, homeowners, and small business owners who waded the high flood waters to salvage what they could after record-breaking floods. 

They have been the ones who thought twice before enjoying recreational activities on Iowa’s lakes and rivers because of concerns about the quality of the water splashing along the banks. 

Iowa Legislative update - June 2, 2020

The Iowa Legislature suspended its session on March 15 as a precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19. But, this week, that suspension ends and the Legislature is set to resume on Wednesday. Though there’s not a firm deadline for the end of this unprecedented session, we don’t expect it to last longer than a couple of weeks, if even that long. The Legislature has a few key priorities to address including allocating resources from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and completing the state’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.