Water Utility

Cultivating Partnerships for Improved Water Quality

a pond on a farmIn many rural communities in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, nutrients pollution from agriculture negatively impacts drinking water. The main causes of nutrient contamination in waterways include over-application of fertilizers for agricultural production and poor animal manure management on private lands. This contamination can lead to detrimental human health.

Agricultural pollution in waterways puts both drinking and wastewater utilities in a difficult position. Often utilities and their customers pay significantly higher costs to remove pollutants from water than what it would cost to prevent that pollution in the first place.

But when water utility staff connect with farmers, build trust, and develop plans to tackle farm pollution, opportunities arise to develop partnerships and to promote nutrient reducing agricultural practices in their watershed. The National Wildlife Federation is working to reduce nutrient pollution issues by cultivating relationships with rural water utilities and local agriculture producers.

For more information about these efforts, please contact Elizabeth Lillard.

National Wildlife Federation report: Cleaning Upstream

Cleaning Upstream

Water utility managers treat a variety of contaminants, but nutrients from agriculture are a common problem. Cleaning Upstream reviews the policies governing water utilities in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa and provides recommendations for policy improvement.

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