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World Water Day observed in Iowa

This news story was published on March 22, 2016.
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Mason City water

Mason City water

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – Safe, sufficient, and reliable water resources are essential to the functioning of every aspect and sector of United States society, including agricultural and energy production, industry and economic growth, human and environmental health, and national security. Because of its importance, today marks the international observance known as World Water Day.

World Water Day dates back to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development where an international observance for water was recommended. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating March 22, 1993, as the first World Water Day. It has been held annually since then.

A White House Water Summit is being held today to raise awareness of the importance of water, and to catalyze ideas and actions to help address these issues through innovative solutions. The event will be livestreamed at, and the public is invited to join in online using the hashtag #WHWaterSummit.

United States Attorney Kevin W. Techau noted that the observance of World Water Day provides an opportunity to learn more about water related issues. Techau noted, “The Department of Justice litigates a wide range of criminal and civil environment enforcement cases under the Clean Water Act. Clean water is a life-giving, life-sustaining resource for the people of Iowa and people across America. The Act was enacted more than four decades ago because Americans realized how critically important this resource is to all of us. I am proud that we continue to use this law to protect the precious resource of water today, here in Iowa.”

Early this year the Federal Court in Cedar Rapids signed a consent decree between the City of Waterloo, the United States and the state of Iowa, which requires the city to comply with the Clean Water Act and take all steps necessary to come into full compliance with the Act.

Last year a Remsen, Iowa, man was sentenced in Federal Court to be confined following his guilty plea to one count of knowingly discharging a pollutant into a waterway of the United States. The discharge resulted in a massive fish kill.

More recently the office filed a four count civil complaint against a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) for discharges of manure and process wastewater being discharged into an unnamed tributary of the Big Sioux River. The complaint is merely an allegation and the named defendant is presumed not liable until shown otherwise. A trial date has not been set. The United States is seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief.

The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. “Clean Water Act” became the Act’s common name with amendments in 1972. It is one of the United States’ first and most influential modern environmental laws. As with many other major U.S. federal environmental statutes, it is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in coordination with state governments.

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