say Des Moines could easily find itself in the same unhappy boat as Toledo, Ohio: struggling with algae-based toxins that could make water unsafe to drink.
"It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," said Bill Stowe, chief executive of the Des Moines Water Works. "With the right conditions, it could have been Des Moines, Iowa."
The state has adopted a voluntary plan that has Iowa farmers working to reduce nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, which can feed the toxic blooms and contribute to high levels of nitrates that must be removed from drinking water.
But Stowe said Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a "prescription for failure," and conditions contributing to the toxic blooms will only worsen without regulations forcing broader action by Iowa farmers and landowners.
"We fight every day with the reality that there are significant contaminants in both rivers. Each day, each hour, we make a decision on which river is least risky in terms of its source water quality," Stowe said.
The Toledo water problem really caught the attention of farmers on Crop Talk since that news broke. There have been many threads of discussion since that happened. They are well founded too, if we are going to avoid more regulation on how we farm.
It may be too late because "the cat is out of the bag." I have posted several blogs on the seriousness of our water supply here this year. It isn't going away.
I am doing my best to keep the water of our farms clean and I am sure you are, too.
What can we do to provide cleaner water running off our soil, store all of it we can for crop needs and make a profit?
That alone is one of the reasons I write this blog. My passion for no-till, cover crops and soil quality is a given as I try to make a profit. This is not a hobby farm and land ownership is serious business in my mind.