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The Exchange: Water

This week we will talk about all things water. Water quality, water management, and the apparently rising waters of the earth. First though, we talk with a man who is fighting an effort by the state legislature to do away with the Des Moines Water Works. Lawmakers have been debating a bill that would essentially dismantle the organization.  Bill Stowe is the CEO of the Des Moines Water Works. Stowe says the bill is a reaction to the lawsuit his organization filed a lawsuit against Buena Visa, Calhoun and Sac counties, alleging that those counties have allowed high nitrate levels to more quickly seep from farm fields into the Raccoon River.


Keeping nutrients and agricultural runoff out of Iowa’s lakes, streams and drinking water has been an ongoing problem. While the growth of algae has often been seen as a nuisance, a pair of Iowa State University researchers are turning it into a tool to clean our water. The process improves the efficiency of wastewater reclamation using algae. Its has gotten the attention of small Iowa communities and the largest wastewater treatment system in the world.

Zhiyou Wen is an ISU professor of food science and human nutrition. He developed the system with Martin Gross, an ISU postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Crops Utilization Research.


Photographer, sailor and environmental activities and educator David Thoreson has come a long way since his early days Iowa. He grew up in Algona and Okaboji. Thorenson is the author of several books of photography, videos about his travels from Antarctica to the northwest passage and more. He’ll be speaking to the Sioux City Sierra Club on March 20th.  Thoreson says people are always surprised when he tells them he got his start in ocean sailing through a friendship with a hog farmer in Minnesota.


David Thoreson is one example of an Iowan who has made a name in photographic, travel and the environmental world. Brad Carl is a Sioux City native who is making a name for himself as a writer. Carl is becoming a popular writer of mystery novels. His first book is called “Gray Areas,” the first of four books in a series.

Carl says he loved writing in high school. After college, he began his career in broadcasting at KG 95 in Sioux City. Carl moved to Kansas City 20 years ago and worked in other areas until he caught the writing bug once again. His first book is called “Gray Areas.”


Next week on The Exchange, we will catch up with what is going on at the state legislatures in Iowa and Nebraska. We will also take a look at an effort to create an historic district in downtown Sioux City. That’s next Wednesday at noon on The Exchange.

Thanks to Aly Karsen, Steve Smith, Mark Munger and Rick Turner. I’m Mary Hartnett. Thanks for listening.

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