Leaders of the utility claimed officials in Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac Counties have failed to adequately manage drainage districts in their area, causing nitrate levels in the water downstream to rise to record high levels.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in January that the Des Moines Water Works cannot win any damages in a lawsuit against the drainage districts. The federal ruling says it is up to the Iowa Legislature to set water quality standards.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey issued the following statement following the federal court ruling:
“The dismissal of this lawsuit is very welcome news and takes away an unnecessary distraction from the collaborative efforts underway to improve water quality in Iowa. Iowa farmers, landowners, cities, businesses, homeowners and many other partners are taking on the challenge of improving water quality and we are seeing exciting results. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I truly believe that by working together, we can make big strides.
“Since the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy was released in 2012, we have worked hard to reach out to farmers and all Iowans to encourage them to try one new thing to address water quality. We remain committed to building on the momentum that has been established and continuing to advance our collaborative, research based approach to address this important issue.”