DES MOINES, Iowa - Friday Governor Terry Branstad discussed a new federal grant totaling $96.9 million to aid in the state's efforts to reduce flooding and improve water quality.
The state of Iowa is one of 13 applicants to be awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, aimed at flood reduction and water quality improvement. Iowa's award was the fourth-largest given by the federal government. The $96.9 million will be dispersed to seven different projects throughout the state, focusing on water infrastructure in the cities of Coralville, Dubuque, and Storm Lake, as well as nine watersheds: Bee Branch Creek; Clear Creek; East Nishnabotna; English River; North Raccoon River; Middle Cedar River; Upper Iowa; Upper Wapsipinicon River; and West Nishnabotna River.
Final amounts may very for these individual projects, and the governor says it will take three to five years to fully implement the scope of work. When asked how the money will be divided between the efforts of "flood reduction" and "water quality," Governor Branstad said the issues are connected.
"They really go hand in hand," he said. "So, when we reduce floods, we improve water quality, so they really go hand in hand. Some of these projects - as I think all of the presenters articulately pointed out - we're in this together."
Governor Branstad says, despite criticisms that this is a "public" solution to a "private" problem, Iowans should recognize this as a state-wide issue.
"It's a public problem, it's a problem we all have," he said. "We want to reduce flooding - I go way back with this - the flood of '93. We lived through that in Des Moines. Des Moines was the largest city at the time that lost its Water Works, because of flooding. And a lot of work has been done to mitigate that."