Agricultural drainage wells (ADWs) were developed in the early to mid 1900’s and discharge cropland tile drainage water to underground aquifers.  The fund was established in 1997 to protect drinking water aquifers by cost-sharing with landowners to close agricultural drainage wells and develop alternative drainage outlets to surface streams or install alternative management practices.  Projects are typically constructed through drainage districts, although some projects are undertaken by individual landowners.  Some of the remaining wells to be closed are located in karst areas with shallow limestone. 



  • 300 registered agricultural drainage wells (ADWs) in Iowa
  • 100 ADWs closed by landowners, Watershed Improvement Review Board funding, or determined by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to not be ADWs or to be non-functioning
  • 170 ADWs closed to date using $15.66 million of assistance funds
  • 5ADW closures in project construction phase
  • 9 ADW closures in design phase with 2018 construction
  • 16 ADWs remain in continued use with DNR permits. 
  • 6 ADW closures anticipated for FY19