116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
There have been many plans proposed to address water quality in Iowa. Of all the aspects the plans address I was alarmed to see one element missing. Where is the urgency? Contaminated streams and related water quality issues are on the rise effecting Iowa communities at an unprecedented rate. This problem is widespread and all encompassing.
Funding for the seven proposals ranges from meager left-over-money at one end of the spectrum to a constitutionally protected trust fund at the other. These ideas amount to an annual $163 million difference in dedication to solving the problem. To make matters worse the time line for implementing is spread out over decades and contingent on a number of other issues. We need urgency.
Addressing water quality does not offer the 'privilege” of time. Potable water is an essential element to our existence. Prior to modern farming practices we could count on the flow of streams to remove natural organic contaminates. Today's pollutants are different and pose significant problems. And they don't go away, consider the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. This might be our last window of time where it is still feasible and cost effective to turn it around. The worse the problem gets the more expensive and more difficult it can be to solve.
Our nation's abundance of natural resources has been dwindled by our sheer numbers. According to the US census the population of the United States doubled in the last 62 years. It also doubled in the previous 50 years. In less than one and a half lifetimes, the population has doubled twice to the current 320 million. One can assume it will grow to 640 million over the next 60 years.
The United States has been in existence the same number of years as three consecutive (average) life spans. In a mere three lifetimes experts say we have managed to contaminate much of our ground water and streams, we have eroded away most of the top soil, we became a major contributor to global climate change, and the list goes on. Meanwhile our ever increasing population requires more resources. How can water quality not be urgent?
' Les Deal, of Cedar Rapids, has a masters degree in biology. He is a retired remodeling contractor and a member of the Gazette Writers Circle. Comments: LDealandW@aol.com