Water

Water is a finite resource. It is a necessity for the life of all individuals and all living things. We have a responsibility to share this resource today and act as good stewards for future generations.

When water is polluted, it’s our neighbors and communities that suffer. Surface water contamination limits economic activity. Groundwater degradation requires costly treatment systems, infrastructure that is too expensive for many small and mid-sized communities.

We depend on water to sustain our way of life. Crop producers rely on irrigation to remain profitable. Energy producers require surface water to maintain generation facilities. Communities count on rivers, lakes, and streams to attract visitors and support local business.

There are important challenges ahead. Increased levels of point source and nonpoint source pollution put our waterways at risk. Changing weather patterns lead to unpredictable precipitation, forcing many of us to adapt. Hydrologic fracturing, excessive and inefficient irrigation, and increased sedimentation all must be addressed.  

Water connects us all. The hydrologic cycle ensures this. Because we all benefit, we each have a role to play in its protection. 

Water Notes

 

Clean Water Rule: Protecting Nebraska's Water Resources

In Nebraska, water is life for people, crops, livestock and wildlife, as well as farms, ranches, business and industry. The 2015 Clean Water Rule was instated to protect this vital resource for all Nebraskans while also providing clarity and certainty for farmers and ranchers without expanding historical jurisdiction or permitting requirements.

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Conservation Boosts Iowa's Future Water Quality

Earlier this year, Iowa beefed up its "Nutrient Reduction Strategy" program to improve water quality, and farmers are weighing the costs and social risks of compliance. 

Iowa's water quality is at risk due to runoff from farmland, primarily caused by storms and crop tilling. Those activities send nitrates and other chemicals into Iowa's waterways, which cause downstream problems and a host of health concerns, including potential birth defects, cancers and thyroid problems. 
 

Farmers face risk when adopting new practices to improve water quality

Water quality is a contentious issue across the country. For example, in Iowa, continued high nitrogen, phosphorous, bacteria, and sediment levels in surface waters threaten public health and outdoor recreation. 

In 2012, the state released a strategy to reduce nutrient and sediment loading in surface waters. However, the best plan forward remains uncertain. This lack of clarity leaves farmers feeling frustrated.