Bill Stowe, Des Moines Water Works chief, reveals cancer news

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Bill Stowe, CEO and general manager of the Des Moines Water Works, called for regulation of drainage districts as point-source polluters at an August 2016 meeting in Redfield at Hanging Rock.


Des Moines Water Works CEO Bill Stowe, right, spoke with Cathy Glasson, candidate for the Democratic nomination for Iowa governor, at a January 2018 farming and environment forum at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager Bill Stowe, 60, has been diagnosed with “an aggressive form of cancer,” according to a letter he directed Thursday to employees of the city water utility.

In the letter, released to the media by the Water Works Board of Trustees, Stowe said his doctors offer “very few options for treatment” for his illness. He said he will carry on with the Des Moines Water Works for now while “putting an immediate emphasis on spending time with my friends and family.”

A veteran of Des Moines public services, Stowe has led the Des Moines Water Works since 2012. He attracted the animus of Iowa’s big agricultural interests, such as the Farm Bureau Federation, when the Water Works Trustees filed suit against upstream polluters in 2015 in an effort to bring about a reduction in waterborne nutrients. A federal court judge dismissed the suit in 2017.

A native of Nevada, Iowa, Stowe earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Grinnell College, master’s degree in engineering from the University of Wisconsin, master’s degree in industrial relations from the University of Illinois and a law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans.

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