Iowa Department of Natural Resources

IOWATER Online Database

Welcome to IOWATER


Water quality is something that affects all of us - one way or another. "All of us" includes all living things, from the largest whale to the smallest amoeba, from tiny duckweed to the tallest redwoods. Without water, all life on earth would cease to exist. Although the quantity of water on earth will never change, its distribution and quality affect us all. With 97.5% of the global water supply tied up in saltwater resources, and nearly 2% of freshwater frozen in glaciers, it is very important to manage, monitor, and protect the remaining 0.5% of freshwater that is available to us. The absence of usable water would be the same as having no water at all.

IOWATER, Iowa's volunteer water quality monitoring program, empowers citizens to take a proactive approach to water quality. By monitoring the water resources in our backyards, we can ensure the protection, longevity and productivity of high quality water resources, as well as evaluate, assess, and improve those of lower quality. By becoming an IOWATER volunteer, you are not only provided with monitoring equipment, but you are also given the freedom to monitor wherever and whenever you choose. The program brings people closer to the landscapes that surround them and encourages them to develop a sense of place within the watersheds in which they live. This tie between ourselves and the water resources that give us life will lead to the understanding, respect, and protection of Iowa’s water bodies long into the future.

IOWATER Mission
To protect and improve Iowa's water quality by raising citizen awareness about Iowa's watersheds, supporting and encouraging the growth and networking of Iowa's volunteer water monitoring communities, and promoting water monitoring activities as a means of assessing and understanding Iowa's aquatic resources.
IOWATER Goals
  • Expand citizen volunteer water monitoring in Iowa.
  • Provide a balanced approach for citizens to become involved in protecting and improving water resources.
  • Develop opportunities for citizens to experience and discover the influence of watersheds on water quality.
  • Develop a user-friendly process for data collection and interpretation to increase accurate information on the state's water resources.
IOWATER Strategies
  • Establish training programs for volunteers that will improve the quality and quantity of water data collected
  • Support existing volunteer water monitoring efforts. Establish outreach programs to increase citizen awareness of and responsibility for local water resources.
  • Provide a framework of information for citizen groups to use in actively promoting responsible decision making in protecting local water quality.
  • Assist new partnerships and alliances throughout Iowa in designing and implementing water monitoring projects.
  • Facilitate communication among volunteer groups, local landowners, and government agencies, to promote sharing of data and resources.
  • Develop a statewide volunteer database, available to all, for baseline water quality information and establishing long-term water quality trends.
  • Integrate IOWATER into conservation education programs in Iowa.