The Water Issues Percolates In Iowa

The balancing of water conservation is challenged by the question of whether private property should be lost for water retention. The reality is that the recreational purpose involved in the creation of retention lakes may not be a public use per se, but the need for water is so substantial in many States (such as Iowa), that the power to acquire via condemnation is a necessity. In reality, recreation is a public use in and of itself. The harsh relief sought in limiting acquisitions for water retention must be balanced against the public need. 

The failure of a bill that would restrict the use of eminent domain to acquire private land for a recreational lake is being cited by Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen as a big disappointment for the 2013 legislative session.

However, Osceola Mayor Fred Diehl contends that one provision of the legislation could have jeopardized the development of a new reservoir that’s “desperately” needed to provide drinking water and to spur economic development in the south-central Iowa community.

House File 219 died in last week’s second deadline or “funnel” for bills to advance in the Iowa Legislature. The measure had passed the Republican-controlled House 93-6, but didn’t advance in the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee.

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