Iowa Source Water Ag Collaborative Celebrates Source Water Protection Week


May 5-11, 2019 is Iowa Source Water Protection (SWP) Week, which coincides with National Drinking Water Week, a national observance of the value of drinking water. The Iowa Source Water Ag Collaborative would like to highlight successful drinking water protection efforts in Iowa and lend its support towards continual collaborative work done to protect sources of drinking water in Iowa.

Water sources include groundwater (aquifers) and surface waters (lakes and rivers). The area affecting a groundwater source is called the capture zone. Capture zones include all landscapes, such as crop ground, land within city limits, roadways, and natural terrain. Groundwater and surface water sources are vital to the health and integrity of Iowa’s communities making source water protection important, but they can be vulnerable to contamination and adversely affected by other contributing factors.

To assist communities with protecting their source water, the Iowa Agriculture Collaborative supports entities in developing Source Water Protection (SWP) plans. A SWP plan is developed using information, such as well and geological data, to identify potential contaminant sources. Then, in a team environment, the community collectively develops a SWP plan. A SWP plan outlines various ways a community can protect its source water. Various ways a community can unite to protect its source water can include planting cover crops, restoring wetlands, researching and installing edge-of-field practices (bioreactors, saturated buffers), enrolling acres into land protective programs, nutrient management (4R), conservation education, and habitat restoration.

Because SWP plans are unique to each community, the Iowa Source Water Agriculture Collaborative offers resources including education, outreach, and program funding to community partners.

Working together, the Collaborative is committed to enhancing and protecting Iowa’s drinking water at the source. The Iowa Source Water Agriculture Collaborative recognizes the importance of healthy partnerships in making source water protection a priority.

Iowa Agriculture Collaborative Partners

Conservation Districts of Iowa
Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development
Heartland Co-op
Iowa Corn Growers Association
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Iowa Department of Natural Resources – Source Water Protection Program
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
Iowa Geological Survey
Iowa Soybean Association
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
U.S. Department of Agriculture-Farm Services Agency
U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service

SWP Projects led by Conservation Districts of Iowa/DNR

Northwest Iowa

2018-2019: Early, Pierson, Sioux Rapids, Rock Valley, and Lyon-Sioux Rural Water System-Doon are in the final stages of plan development. They have spent last 10 months investigating landscape resource concerns as well as project/program resource concerns. This has led to solutions based on short-term goals, increasing partner involvement and on a positive long term impact.

Southwest Iowa

2018-2019: Atlantic, Kimballton, Elk Horn, and West Central Iowa Rural Water Association are developing source water protection Phase 2 plans, with the goal of implementation thereafter.

For more information about Iowa DNR Source Water Protection Program please contact: Jessica Montana, Environmental Program Supervisor Iowa Department of Natural Resources 712-243-1934 1401 Sunnyside Lane, Atlantic, IA 50020

Alex Rausch