New reports on Iowa water argue that nitrate and bacteria levels in private wells have increased for more than a decade, while water quality funding has remained grossly inadequate.
The two reports were released Wednesday.
A report by the not-for-profit Iowa Policy Project took a look at the state’s spending commitment to water quality and sought to identify funding levels needed to make “meaningful progress” on nutrient pollution reduction.
The report found that, despite the 2013 adoption of the state’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy, water quality spending from Iowa’s general fund dropped off post-recession and has yet to return.
Funding peaked in fiscal 2009 at more than $45 million, but dropped to less than $30 million in fiscal 2012. The number since has climbed back up to about $43 million last year.
Meanwhile, the report notes that federal and state funding on nutrient reduction in Iowa reached $512 million in 2017-18. The majority of that went to Conservation Reserve Program payments.[…]
A joint report released by the Environmental Working Group and the Iowa Environmental Council analyzed state records from 2002 to 2017. The study found that in private wells that were tested, the average nitrate levels grew from 3.1 parts per million in 2003 to 5.7 ppm in 2013.