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Water and Power Bills: H.R. 716




Statement of Kris Polly

Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation

U.S.Department of the Interior

before the

Subcommittee on Water and Power

Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Unites States Senate

H.R. 716

April 8, 2008

Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I am Kris Polly, Deputy Commissioner at the Bureau of Reclamation.  I am pleased to provide the Department of the Interior's views on HR 716, a bill to authorize Reclamation to participate in the design, planning, and construction of the Santa Rosa Urban Water Reuse Plan.  The Department does not support HR 716. 

HR 716 would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act (Public Law 102-575, Title XVI) to include the City of Santa Rosa, California, Urban Water Reuse Plan.  Under the proposed legislation, costs incurred by the City of Santa Rosa prior to the date of enactment would be credited by the Secretary toward the total cost of the Santa Rosa Urban Water Reuse Plan. 

Reclamation is working with the City of Santa Rosa to develop a feasibility study, but Reclamation has not yet determined the feasibility of this project.  I would like note that the Department does support efforts to increase local water supplies and increase recycled water use in the West; however, Title XVI provisions require that these technical studies be completed and reviewed to determine the feasibility and cost effectiveness.  The Department believes this legislation should not be enacted without a proper analysis to ensure this project is feasible. 

Further, H.R. 716 authorizes the appropriation of up to $20 million or a maximum of 25 percent of total project costs, whichever is less.  This project would have to compete with other needs within the Reclamation program for funding priority in the President's Budget.  The Department continues to believe it is not prudent to authorize new Title XVI projects in light of the Federal cost share already authorized for Title XVI projects now being actively pursued.

Of the 35 Title XVI projects specifically authorized and 2 demonstration projects undertaken through the general authority, 21 projects are actively being pursued and 4 are complete.  The Federal cost share for the active projects, after FY 2008, is nearly $400 million. The Federal cost share for the 12 projects currently not being pursued is estimated at $220 million. 

While Reclamation is not supporting new project authorizations at this time, we understand that the projects established by Title XVI are important to many water users in the West.  To that end, Reclamation has developed Directives and Standards that govern reviews of Title XVI projects.  By doing so, we believe that Reclamation can play a more constructive role with local sponsors in weighing the merits and ultimate feasibility of proposed water recycling projects.

For the reasons noted above, the Department does not support HR 716.  Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony.  I would be pleased to answer any questions.