Des Moines Area Community College is celebrating Earth Week with events for students, and today they’ll hear from the General Manager and CEO of the Des Moines Waterworks. L.D. McMullen says he’ll tell the students about what’s happening in Iowa’s rivers, lakes and streams.
"Water is so important to all of us," McMullen says, "and we take it so much for granted." While he says we tend to judge water quality based on its taste, smell and appearance, he’ll tell the students there’s a lot more to it. He says today’s young adults have the responsibility to keep the water clean in the future, and to know what it is that they’re drinking.
Tuesday the group American Rivers came out with its annual list of the Top Ten Endangered Rivers, and that list included the Iowa River. McMullen says the Iowa is similar to many other rivers in the state, in which nutrient and bacterial populations are a real concern. He says the governor and his new DNR director are both focusing on it, and "it’ll be a major thrust in the upcoming year."
The WaterWorks manager thinks the standoff can be solved, however. "I believe that livestock, row-crop farming, and clean waters are all achievable in the state of Iowa," McMullen says. "It took us a long time to get where we are today with our water quality. We’ve made some real strides in recent years, and we need to just keep moving in that direction."
McMullen has been at the Des Moines waterworks since 1978 and won national recognition for his leadership when he guided the capital city through the historic floods of 1993, when the waterworks flooded and the entire city was without water for a week.