In late summer, I would swim and stream-walk a small section of the Raccoon River. While sedimented for decades now, the water was clear in the shallows. For a few years now, the water is pea-green from edge-to-edge. For decades and worse now, this water has strongly contributed to a vast hypoxia zone in the Gulf.

In the 1980s, I wrote about the wisdom of the river, focusing on the Des Moines River as a living, very open metaphor for the essential streaming dynamic of the universe that is within us as well in the streaming of our body metabolism and thought.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Three Simple Things

JENNIFER TERRY, environmental advocacy leader of the Des Moines Water Works lists three things that will actually improve water quality:

Iowa must implement a targeted watershed approach that holistically treats all contaminants in our public waterways and is adequately funded for the long term. Begin by prioritizing the Raccoon River Watershed which supplies drinking water to 500,000 Iowans;

Stop pollution where it starts and hold responsible the most egregious water polluters by supporting basic standards of care and water quality monitoring;

Insist on timelines for meeting nutrient pollution reduction goals, set benchmarks to measure progress along the way and make water quality data easily accessible to the public.
Jennifer Terry, “Iowa View: Iowa’s progress on water 
quality fails to excite,” Des Moines Register


This is really quite a clean and clear plan, and it would go a long way in improving water quality.  However, efforts to improve water quality will almost assuredly be ineffective and not work.  This is not because it is an unclear directive or even biased directive.  This is what really everyone wants for Iowa water.  

These three simple things have to happen for improved water quality.  If anything is clear, this is crystal clear.

It will be ineffective until we revalue Iowa water as a priority.  Iowa water is a very secondary concern.  And this reality of Iowa water being a secondary concern is evident in actions to date and in proposals being suggested.  Biases in every plan that prioritize other interests assure for token efforts at best.  Accordingly, $$$ that have been spent and $$$ that will “target” the problem will protect other interests and be facile at best.

Talk about “achievements of clean water” in the “exciting, new public interest in doing something about water” will not result in high-quality water and will best result in Iowans being snookered by big talk and little action with $$$-spent going down the drain.  Three simple things that must be done are listed above, and they must be done comprehensively, if the goal is really about water quality.

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