Iowa Drainage Law Manual, TR-497, 2005

(2005) Iowa Drainage Law Manual, TR-497, 2005. Transportation, Department of


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The relationship between Iowa’s roads and drainage developed when rural roads were originally constructed. The land parallel to roadways was excavated to create road embankments. The resulting ditches provided an outlet for shallow tiles to drain nearby fields for farming. Iowa’s climate and terrain are nearly ideal for farming, and more than 90 percent of the land suits the purpose. Much of the land, however, needs to be artificially drained to achieve maximum productivity. Most of this drainage has been accomplished with an extensive network of levees, open ditches, and underground tiles. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that as early as 1920 approximately nine million acres of Iowa farm land had been artificially drained or needed to be. Couple this drainage system with Iowa’s extensive surface transportation system—approximately 100,000 miles of roads and streets, 90,000 on local systems— and potential for conflicts will naturally arise. This is particularly true with urban expansion resulting in residential and commercial development of rural land. This manual contains summaries of and references to the laws most relevant to drainage in Iowa. It also includes frequently asked questions about transportation agencies’ responsibilities related to drainage. Typical policies and agreement forms used by agencies to address drainage issues are illustrated and a glossary of common terms is included.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Drainage, Drainage practices, Liability, State laws, Wetlands
Subjects: Transportation
Transportation > Roads and highways
Transportation > Environment
Transportation > Environment > Water
Transportation > Law and policies
ID Code: 19966
Deposited By: Iowa DOT Library
Deposited On: 30 Jun 2015 12:11
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2015 12:11