Text: S.811 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 104-298 (10/11/1996)
[104th Congress Public Law 298]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
WATER DESALINATION ACT OF 1996
[[Page 110 STAT. 3622]]
Public Law 104-298
To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct studies regarding
the desalination of water and water reuse, and for other
purposes. <<NOTE: Oct. 11, 1996 - [S. 811]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress <<NOTE: Water Desalination Act of
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 42 USC 10301 note.>> SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Water Desalination Act of 1996''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 42 USC 10301 note.>> DEFINITIONS.
As used in this Act:
(1) Desalination or desalting.--The terms ``desalination''
or ``desalting'' mean the use of any process or technique for
the removal and, when feasible, adaptation to beneficial use, of
organic and inorganic elements and compounds from saline or
biologically impaired waters, by itself or in conjunction with
(2) Saline water.--The term ``saline water'' means sea
water, brackish water, and other mineralized or chemically
(3) United states.--The term ``United States'' means the
States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories and possessions
of the United States.
(4) Usable water.--The term ``usable water'' means water of
a high quality suitable for environmental enhancement,
agricultural, industrial, municipal, and other beneficial
consumptive or nonconsumptive uses.
(5) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary
of the Interior.
SEC. 3.AUTHORIZATION <<NOTE: 42 USC 10301 note.>> OF RESEARCH AND
(a) In General.--In order to determine the most cost-effective and
technologically efficient means by which usable water can be produced
from saline water or water otherwise impaired or contaminated, the
Secretary is authorized to award grants and to enter into contracts, to
the extent provided in advance in appropriation Acts, to conduct,
encourage, and assist in the financing of research to develop processes
for converting saline water into water suitable for beneficial uses.
Awards of research grants and contracts under this section shall be made
on the basis of a competitive, merit-reviewed process. Research and
study topics authorized by this section include--
(1) investigating desalination processes;
[[Page 110 STAT. 3623]]
(2) ascertaining the optimum mix of investment and operating
(3) determining the best designs for different conditions of
(4) investigating methods of increasing the economic
efficiency of desalination processes through dual-purpose co-
facilities with other processes involving the use of water;
(5) conducting or contracting for technical work, including
the design, construction, and testing of pilot systems and test
beds, to develop desalting processes and concepts;
(6) studying methods for the recovery of byproducts
resulting from desalination to offset the costs of treatment and
to reduce environmental impacts from those byproducts; and
(7) salinity modeling and toxicity analysis of brine
discharges, cost reduction strategies for constructing and
operating desalination facilities, and the horticultural effects
of desalinated water used for irrigation.
(b) Project Recommendations and Reports to the Congress.--As soon as
practicable and within three years after the date of enactment of this
Act, the Secretary shall recommend to Congress desalination
demonstration projects or full-scale desalination projects to carry out
the purposes of this Act and to further evaluate and implement the
results of research and studies conducted under the authority of this
section. Recommendations for projects shall be accompanied by reports on
the engineering and economic feasibility of proposed projects and their
(c) Authority To Engage Others.--In carrying out research and
studies authorized in this section, the Secretary may engage the
necessary personnel, industrial or engineering firms, Federal
laboratories, water resources research and technology institutes, other
facilities, and educational institutions suitable to conduct
investigations and studies authorized under this section.
(d) Alternative Technologies.--In carrying out the purposes of this
Act, the Secretary shall ensure that at least three separate
technologies are evaluated and demonstrated for the purposes of
SEC. 4. <<NOTE: 42 USC 10301 note.>> DESALINATION DEMONSTRATION AND
(a) In General.--In order to further demonstrate the feasibility of
desalination processes investigated either independently or in research
conducted pursuant to section 3, the Secretary shall administer and
conduct a demonstration and development program for water desalination
and related activities, including the following:
(1) Desalination plants and modules.--Conduct or contract
for technical work, including the design, construction, and
testing of plants and modules to develop desalination processes
(2) Byproducts.--Study methods for the marketing of
byproducts resulting from the desalting of water to offset the
costs of treatment and to reduce environmental impacts of those
(3) Economic surveys.--Conduct economic studies and surveys
to determine present and prospective costs of producing water
for beneficial purposes in various locations by desalination
processes compared to other methods.
[[Page 110 STAT. 3624]]
(b) Cooperative Agreements.--Federal participation in desalination
activities may be conducted through cooperative agreements, including
cost-sharing agreements, with non-Federal public utilities and State and
local governmental agencies and other entities, in order to develop
recommendations for Federal participation in processes and plants
utilizing desalting technologies for the production of water.
SEC. 5. <<NOTE: 42 USC 10301 note.>> AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION.
All information from studies sponsored or funded under authority of
this Act shall be considered public information.
SEC. 6. <<NOTE: 42 USC 10301 note.>> TECHNICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE
The Secretary may--
(1) accept technical and administrative assistance from
States and public or private agencies in connection with
studies, surveys, location, construction, operation, and other
work relating to the desalting of water, and
(2) enter into contracts or agreements stating the purposes
for which the assistance is contributed and providing for the
sharing of costs between the Secretary and any such agency.
SEC. 7. <<NOTE: 42 USC 10301 note.>> COST SHARING.
The Federal share of the cost of a research, study, or demonstration
project or a desalination development project or activity carried out
under this Act shall not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the
project or research or study activity. A Federal contribution in excess
of 25 percent for a project carried out under this Act may not be made
unless the Secretary determines that the project is not feasible without
such increased Federal contribution. <<NOTE: Regulations.>> The
Secretary shall prescribe appropriate procedures to implement the
provisions of this section. Costs of operation, maintenance, repair, and
rehabilitation of facilities funded under the authority of this Act
shall be non-Federal responsibilities.
SEC. 8. <<NOTE: 42 USC 10301 note.>> AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
(a) Section 3.--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out
section 3 of this Act $5,000,000 per year for fiscal years 1997 through
2002. Of these amounts, up to $1,000,000 in each fiscal year may be
awarded to institutions of higher education, including United States-
Mexico binational research foundations and interuniversity research
programs established by the two countries, for research grants without
any cost-sharing requirement.
(b) Section 4.--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out
section 4 of this Act $25,000,000 for fiscal years 1997 through 2002.
[[Page 110 STAT. 3625]]
SEC. <<NOTE: 42 USC 10301 note.>> 9. CONSULTATION.
In carrying out the provisions of this Act, the Secretary shall
consult with the heads of other Federal agencies, including the
Secretary of the Army, which have experience in conducting desalination
research or operating desalination facilities. The authorization
provided for in this Act shall not prohibit other agencies from carrying
out separately authorized programs for desalination research or
Approved October 11, 1996.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 811:
HOUSE REPORTS: No. 104-790, Pt. 1 (Comm. on Resources).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 104-254 (Comm. on Environment and Public Works).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 142 (1996):
May 3, considered and passed Senate.
Sept. 24, considered and passed House, amended.
Sept. 27, Senate concurred in House amendments.