Community Members Meet to Discuss Water Works

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Des Moines Water Works board CEO Bill Stowe is battling the state in a series of court cases that was just lost for the second time.

In what appeared to be a last effort to show opposition, Stowe was met Sunday by upset community members.

"Our motive here is to provide safe, abundant, and affordable drinking water to you, and nothing more than that," said Stowe.

That is something people at the meeting agreed with.

Water Works sued three northern Iowa counties for the cost of removing nitrates from drinking water; the nitrates came from farms in those counties. The legal bills totaled nearly $1 million, but supporters say it was worth the money.

"It's bringing a lot of attention forth to the problems of having nitrates in the water," said Des Moines resident Pam Mitchell.

Stowe also defended the cost of the suit, even though courts ruled against him.

"We thought the lawsuit was completely necessary to catalyst in the discussions going on at the state and federal level about protecting the environment,” he said. “We certainly were disappointed the lawsuit wasn’t more successful.”

While no one in the room spoke in favor of a proposal at the Statehouse that would now dissolve the Water Works board, last week one of the leaders of that plan said it is the right move.

"Yes, I am a Republican for local control,” Republican State Representative Jared Klein said. “Sometimes it’s at the state level and not federally, just like it’s sometimes between local counties and not the state."

We will know more after the legislative session is over.

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