The water issues in Lake Erie were mainly about water quality and the general reasons for the massive harmful algal blooms[i]. Des Moines, IA, escalated from “merely” being about safe drinking water being to specifically about nitrates and who was going to pay to remove them[ii],[iii]. For decades, this topic has been gaining the attention of government entities. For example, states around the Chesapeake Bay were the first to develop very comprehensive nutrient
management regulations for even the smallest of farms[iv]. Terms like Point Source and Nonpoint Source were developed to help those involved in water quality management to categorize what actions, corrective and punitive, to take when situations are to be addressed. The process has been long but is now coming to some very real conclusions at the local, state[v] and federal levels[vi].
That was then. What about tomorrow?
Tomorrow and its demands are just a day away. Municipal water quality and WOTUS
issues have come into the spotlight and will now always be discussed. They may not take center stage, but they will be issues none the less. Technology will be our aid in helping us mitigate existing issues and help show us causes and effects so we can develop more sustainable corrective action plans. Let’s not think that a Des Moines situation won’t happen again. It can and we need to act as if it will. In other words, how can we reduce nitrate levels in yet to be determined Point Source areas? It is a real goal that deserves our attention. They are measurable, and technology will soon make it easier to monitor the actual Thanks to technology, Nonpoint becomes Point Source quickly. We must make it a priority to prevent another Des Moines from occurring.
The challenge has been laid down for thoughtful nutrient management decision making. By utilizing time-proven stewardship wisdom and utilizing technologies that help us better understand our environment so we can plan now to prevent the problems of tomorrow. Find out where your water comes from by going to this Nature Conservancy site.