S. 1054 and H.R. 122 - Water Project Bills

Statement of Larry Todd, Deputy Commissioner

Bureau of Reclamation

U.S. Department of the Interior

Before the

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Subcommittee on Water and Power

On S. 1054

August 1, 2007

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am Larry Todd, Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Administration and Budget with the Bureau of Reclamation. I am pleased to be here today to give the Department's views on S. 1054, the Inland Empire Regional Water Recycling Initiative. The Department cannot support S. 1054.

In 1992, Congress adopted, and the President signed, the Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act (Public Law 102-575). Title XVI of this Act, the Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act, authorized the Secretary to participate in the planning, design and construction of five water reclamation and reuse projects. The Bureau of Reclamation has been administering a grant program to fund these Title XVI projects since 1994, and the Act has been amended to authorize a total of 32 projects.

S. 1054 would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act (43 U.S.C. 390h et seq.), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the design, planning, and construction of two water recycling projects located in San Bernardino County, California. The first project authorized in the bill is the Inland Empire Regional Water Recycling Project. This very large water recycling project located in the Chino Basin and sponsored by the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, involves at least five wastewater treatment plants and an extensive recycled water distribution system. In addition, the bill authorizes the Cucamonga Valley Water Recycling Project. This project, sponsored by the Cucamonga Valley Water District, consists of two satellite wastewater treatment plants and associated recycled water distribution systems, located in Rancho Cucamonga.

The Federal cost share of the Inland Empire and Cucamonga Water Recycling Projects would not exceed 25 percent, and appropriations of $20 million and $10 million, respectively, are authorized.

Mr. Chairman, the Department supports efforts to increase local water supplies and increase recycled water use in southern California. The Inland Empire Utilities Agency and the Cucamonga Valley Water District each submitted a feasibility study on their respective projects. Reclamation has reviewed both feasibility studies, and compared the documents to the elements of a complete feasibility study as defined in the "Guidelines for Preparing, Reviewing, and Processing Water Reclamation and Reuse Projects under Title XVI of Public Law 102-575, as Amended." Reclamation found that both reports were complete, and met all the elements, and therefore have been deemed feasible.

While we recognize the local sponsors for the work they have done on these important projects, given the costs of the currently active Title XVI projects, we do not support the authorization of new projects at this time. Of the 32 specific Title XVI projects authorized to date, 21 have received funding. The remaining estimated total authorized Federal cost share of these 21 active Title XVI projects is at least $328 million.

While Reclamation does not support new authorizations for Federal cost sharing of water recycling projects, we understand that the projects established by Title XVI are important to many water users in the West. To that end, Reclamation has set about revising and improving its 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.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on S. 1054. I would be happy to answer any questions at this time.

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