Water Quality in the State of Iowa

When we consider the current status of water quality within the state of Iowa, we find that Iowa has generally good quality surface waters and groundwaters. However, threats to the quality of both surface waters and groundwater exist, and small portions of the state's waters have serious pollution problems. The goal of the Environmental Protection Division of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is to protect public health, safety, well being and quality of life by protecting the state's natural environment. Regarding water quality, the DNR seeks to ensure that all Iowans have surface waters that are fishable and swimmable to the fullest extent practicable, safe drinking water, groundwater that is free from harmful contamination, protection from the adverse effects of floods, and water resources that are put to their best beneficial uses.

The DNR manages water quality through the implementation of the state's Water Quality Standards. These standards are found in Chapter 61 of the Iowa Administrative Code. To evaluate the status of our water quality, the DNR both conducts monitoring and uses information from other agencies that monitor the quality of the state's surface waters and groundwater. The DNR reports on the status of water quality in the state every two years.

Help us assess Iowa's streams: take the survey
The DNR is asking for your input on how you recreate in Iowa's streams as we complete recreational assessments on streams in the state. Please take our online survey to list the streams you use, what activities you use them for and where you access the streams.

The DNR will factor the results from the survey into its decision making for applying recreation-based stream designations to Iowa's waters. These assessments are part of classifying recreational stream uses in the state, and will help determine the appropriate level of protection for the stream.