top of page
Water Sovereignty

Water Sovereignty is the right of every Iowan – whether farmer, consumer, landowner, fisherman, or recreationalist – to have access to clean, safe, abundant, and sustainable water resources.  Resources that are foundational to human health, crop and animal health, our economy, and our general welfare.  Today and tomorrow.  Among other threats, scaling agricultural systems, increasing weather severity, and even serving foreign interests that don’t align with Iowa values, endanger the foundation of Iowa’s rural and urban economies by altering, degrading and polluting Iowa’s water resources.

As Secretary of Agriculture, John Will…

  • Engage Stakeholders in Transforming Iowa’s Agriculture Plumbing systems from a near singular focus on drainage to a multi-focus on managing water resources for private and public benefit, including water filtration, irrigation, and flood storage

  • Accelerate the emphasis on building health soils which store more water by engaging agricultural landowners and farm operators in targeted, team-based approaches to deliver regenerative agricultural results at scale across Iowa

  • Assess what other improvements or investments Iowa can and should make to maintain its water sovereignty in the face of changing climate and more severe weather.

Water Quality

As Polk County Water Commissioner, John has been staunch defender and innovator of better ways to restore Iowa’s declining water quality. He pioneered the implementation of the state recognized saturated buffer “blitz” in 2021 in Polk County which identified a new approach to targeting, turnkey delivery of water quality practices dozens at a time.  Norwood has regularly led diverse teams from both urban and rural backgrounds to develop new approaches to improving water quality that are team-based, cost effective and easy to implement.

As Secretary of Agriculture, John Will…

  • Norwood will work closely with local, state and federal stakeholders to align water quality goals with local, state and federal funds, including crop federal crop insurance support

  • Help rural counties transform their drainage districts — a primary source of nitrates in our rivers — to become water management districts, managing water for quality, recharge and flood control as well as drainage

  • Create a World Class River Level, Real Time, Monitoring and Management System to Identify and Deploy high ROI water quality investments, starting with Polk County


As a 20-year business advisor and board director in Iowa, Norwood understands the impact of a severe weather events on our farms and our communities. The way forward requires a combination of thinking about soil health, flood zone management, even how carbon markets can help us design and finance a solution grounded in building a sustainable, regenerative ag system as a model for the country and the world to emulate.

As Secretary of Agriculture, John...

  • Be a proponent for expanding flood management lands and assets, and then aligning those assets to support working landscapes including grazing and flood zone suitable working landscapes

  • Will bring focus to our strategies for flood control that build off of carbon and ecosystem service markets being funded by Fortune 500 companies

  • Bring more focus to Urban planning efforts that seek to avoid flooding impacts by NOT building in flood plains or expanding development without integrating forward-thinking flood management needs

bottom of page