Clean water is something every Iowan deserves when they twist the handle on their kitchen faucet. We also expect clean rivers and lakes. Getting a water quality bill passed this Legislation Session was a priority of mine, Governor Kim Reynolds and fellow legislators in the Iowa House and Senate. That hope became a reality Tuesday when the legislature passed a water quality bill and sent it to the Governor.
The State of Iowa has a long history of creating partnerships with municipalities, industry, and agriculture to protect our natural resources. The water quality bill passed this week expands on that premise. Our water quality legislation takes the next step toward long-term water quality by providing additional funding for both point source pollution (municipalities and industry), and non-point pollution (natural and agricultural), both important parts of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
Iowa’s combination of nutrient-rich soil coupled with abundant rainfall makes our state one of the most productive agricultural locations on the planet. However, that also means nutrient run-off must be managed. For many years the state has partnered with agriculture through cost-share programs, significantly reducing soil run-off and phosphorus loss. More recently, we have learned how to apply scientifically proven practices and structures to significantly reduce nitrate runoff into our waters.
According to a recent Iowa State study, Iowa farmers have spent more than $2 billion of their own money on conservation practices over the last ten years. This water quality legislation will provide $156 million for additional cost-share partnerships with Iowa farmers and $126 million for our cities and towns over the next 12 years.
One of our shared goals with the legislation was to provide a dedicated funding source for water quality. I am proud we were able to make a significant investment without raising taxes. Instead, the new law will utilize the current sales tax on water in Iowa, dedicating that current sales tax revenue toward water quality.
When taking the Senate majority, one of the promises we made to Iowans is we would work on big issues that will have a positive long-term impact on Iowa. There is no doubt that this water quality bill will greatly impact Iowans for future generations.