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September 25, 2018
By Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

Drainage doesn't

everyone have the right to

adequate drainage.

When I started at the

newspaper in 2015, I

thought I knew what

drainage was. To me, it

was burying tile in your

fields and that was it. I

was sorely mistaken. I

quickly learned that

drainage has its own separate


The first couple of

things I learned almost immediately

was 1) if you

don't live in rural areas

where adequate drainage is

important to your farming

operation, you really don't

understand Iowa Drainage

laws and 2) everyone,

rural or urban, you have

the right to adequate


I've heard the main two

issues that people have

when an improvement is

proposed to a drainage district.

First, is the cost of

assessments to their land

and secondly, anyone

down stream of the proposed

improvements may

have to contemplate improvements

in the future.

In rural Palo Alto

County, where adequate

drainage can make or

break a farming season,

landowners understand the

importance of adequate

drainage and although they

may not like it, down

stream landowners also

know that adequate

drainage is important for

the economic stability of

the farmer.

It is a law of nature, that

water flows downhill and

will take the path of least

resistance. Therefore, no

one can impede the natural

flow of water, including

individuals, the state departments,

federal departments

and we can't forget

the beaver. A drainage district

can widen and

straighten a natural creek

to improve water flow for


This past week, I attended

and reported on a

meeting for Drainage District

180 Lateral B. The

watershed for this district

includes the north Grand

area of the City of Emmetsburg.

This area is by

all definitions an undeveloped

area of the city. By

this I mean that the infrastructure

of curbs, gutters

and adequate tiling. I don't

know if there is a law that

requires a city to make

sure the infrastructure of

the entire area within the

city limits, but it should.

Why should the people

living on north Grand not

have the same updated

roads and storm drains as

the rest of the people living

within the city limits? I

found this quit disturbing.

It's almost as if eyes are

closed and heads averted

this part of town does not


Now, today, there is a

drainage district, DD 180,

who has willingly added

this area of Emmetsburg to

the proposed project. This

project is only able to

move forward because

Phil Stillman, a landowner

agreed to put an open ditch

through his land. This is

simply unheard of today.

Stillman saw a problem

and was willing to cut his

fields in half to help with

drainage in the City of

Emmetsburg.It was a matter

of seeing the flooding

issue on north Grand and

what it was doing to the

residents of that area and

their property. Everyone

deserves adequate

drainage to help reduce the

damages to their property.

I think, what bothers me

the most about this entire

matter is the fact that people

who do not and have

not dealt with the devastation

that occurs when your

homes floods. How would

you feel if this was your

home? Think about it. Not

only do you lose items that

can be replaced, but you

also lose those items of no

monetary value - those

items that fit into your

memories. It's all gone

How would you feel

looking around a room of

your fellow townsfolk

knowing that your quality

of life is not as important

as the next persons, to feel

like you don't deserve adequate

drainage like everyone

else or to feel as if

drainage is a luxury you

can't afford.



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