A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Madam Chairwoman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am Kira Finkler, Deputy Commissioner for External and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation).I am pleased provide the views of the Department of the Interior (Department) on H.R. 1120, the Central Texas Water Recycling Act of 2009.For reasons I will discuss below, the Administration cannot support the bill.
H.R. 1120 would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act (Public Law 102-575, 43 U.S.C. 390h et seq.), commonly called Title XVI, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the design, planning, and construction of permanent facilities needed to reclaim and reuse water in McLennan County.The project is being implemented by the City of Waco.
The City of Waco (City) has projected a 12,000 acre-foot per year water deficit in 2060.The Brazos River Basin Regional Water Group, which includes the City of Waco and which reports water management recommendations to the State of Texas, recommended water reuse as an important management strategy in meeting this need.The City has identified numerous customers in the area with a total expected reuse demand of 3.0 million gallons per day.The City proposes to construct infrastructure to convey treated effluent to these customers.
The City submitted Title XVI feasibility materials to Reclamation on September 3, 2009, and an agency review team collaborated with the City on revising the report to meet Reclamation's Title XVI feasibility report requirements.Reclamation's team completed its review of the revised feasibility report and compared it to the criteria established in P.L. 102-575, as amended and Reclamation's Directives and Standards.Based on this review, the team recommended that the Great Plains Regional Director and the Policy and Administration Director concur that the feasibility report is complete.The Regional Director and Director of Policy and Administration provided concurrence on October 8 and October 13, 2009, respectively.
H.R. 1120 would authorize the project under Title XVI for Federal funding not to exceed 25 percent of the total project cost or $20 million, whichever is less.
As part of this total, the Department is requesting $20 million for Title XVI projects to be selected using criteria to identify activities most closely aligned with Title XVI statutory and program goals.On March 15, 2010, Reclamation posted an announcement inviting comment on draft funding criteria for Title XVI projects.After these criteria are finalized with comments received up through April 16, Reclamation will review and rank Title XVI project proposals received based on those criteria subject to appropriations in fiscal year 2011.
Separately, in July of 2009, the Department announced the allocation of approximately $135 million in grants for specific authorized Title XVI projects using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA.We recognize that water reuse is an essential tool in stretching the limited water supplies in the West, and I believe the FY 2011 Budget request on top of the ARRA funding has demonstrated the emphasis placed by this Administration on this Program.However, given that there are 53 already authorized Title XVI projects and numerous competing mission priorities and demands on Reclamation's budget, the Department cannot support the authorization of new Title XVI projects or extensions of authorized existing cost ceilings at this time.
Reclamation will, however, continue to work with project proponents to evaluate the completeness of feasibility studies of their projects.
Madam Chairwoman, this concludes my testimony.Thank you for the opportunity to comment on H.R. 1120.I would be pleased to answer any questions at this time.