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Des Moines Water Works CEO Bill Stowe Dies At 60

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Clay Masters
/
IPR/File
Bill Stowe, General Manager Des Moines Water Works, stands outside the main entrance at the utility’s headquarters on October 20, 2017.";

The CEO and General Manager of the Des Moines Water Works has died. Bill Stowe was known throughout the state for his steadfast commitment to Iowa’s water quality. Des Moines Water Works announced last month he’d recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In 2017, he was part of the on-going IPR forum Public Radio on Tap.

“The biggest water quality issue facing Iowa in my view is the denial of many in leadership positions that there is a water quality problem in this state,” Stowe said to applause from the audience.

“Agritoxins from industrial agriculture will continue to create risks for us as consumers that will only be abated when industrial agriculture is made to be responsible for the pollutants they’re causing,” he said later in the taping.

Recently, Stowe was the spokesman for the utility’s controversial lawsuit against drainage districts in northwest Iowa that frustrated many in the agribusiness industry.   

He was the director of Des Moines public works for 13 years before heading up Des Moines Water Works in 2012. He grew up on a farm in Nevada, Iowa, and played basketball at Grinnell. He earned master’s degrees at the University of Wisconsin and Illinois in engineering and labor relations. He received a law degree at Loyola.

Bill Stowe died Sunday and is survived by his wife and son. Stowe was 60 years old.