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Baltimore mourns Rep. Elijah Cummings, who 'Fought for All.' Also on our rundown: Rick Perry headed for door as Energy Secretary; and EPA holds its only hearing on rolling back methane regulations.

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While controversy swirls at the White House, Chicago teachers go on strike and Democratic primary contender retired Admiral Joe Sestak walks 105 miles across New Hampshire.

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Observing World Water Day Includes Safe Water In Iowa

March 21, 2008

Des Moines, IA - Just 2.5 percent of the world's water is drinkable, and more than a billion people have no access to clean water.

To improve availability of healthy drinking water in countries around the globe, the United Nations has created World Water Day, observed Saturday.

In Iowa, the quality of water is constantly under assault from runoff. Greene County farmer Jerry Peckumn believes conservation practices such as frequent crop rotation, use of cover crops, and limiting fertilizer applications would help.

"We practice really intensive nutrient management. We try to make sure that any fertilizer we use stays on the land."

In recent weeks, the ammonia level in the Raccoon River watershed has been unusually high and Peckumn believes improper use of fertilizer may be to blame.

"We have seen fertilizer applied to the top of snow-covered fields, which I believe has very little chance of staying in the soil. As the snow melts, the fertilizer runs off with the snow. We've also seen a lot of surface application of manure, I think more than normal."

Peckumn says a cover crop planted in the fall would help control runoff into Iowa rivers and streams, help eliminate soil erosion, and retain soil nutrients, which would in turn require even less fertilizer application every spring.

Dick Layman/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - IA