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Water Works federal lawsuit trial delayed to June 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The lawsuit filed by the Des Moines Water Works in federal court against several upstream agriculture drainage districts has been delayed by nearly a year.

Originally scheduled for trial in August, a judge rescheduled the three-week trial for June 26, 2017.

Water Works Board Chairman Graham Gillette says that will give the Iowa Supreme Court time to resolve constitutional questions the federal judge posed to it before trying the case.

Gillette says a delay also gives state leaders time to reconsider providing money for agriculture practices that would reduce water pollutants.

The water utility for about 500,000 central Iowa customers blames farmland runoff for high levels of nitrate that cost millions of dollars to remove.

Water Works officials want farm drainage districts regulated under the federal Clean Water Act.

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