The Cedar Rapids Water Division has its headquarters, appropriately, just a few hundred yards east of the Cedar River, the source of drinking water for this second largest city in Iowa. This building is the epicenter of the Water Division’s work to provide clean water for the 126,000 residents and numerous industrial and food production facilities located in the city.
Rising levels of nitrate in the Cedar River make this work more important than ever. The Water Division building was also the location of a recent workshop organized by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and Cedar Rapids. In this unique meeting, farmers, watershed coordinators, and partners from producer organizations and state and federal agencies crowded around large, interactive TVs to “design” a watershed that could support profitable farming and provide clean water as well.