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104th Congress                                            Rept. 104-790
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 2d Session                                                      Part 1
_______________________________________________________________________


 
                     WATER DESALINATION ACT OF 1996
                                _______
                                

 September 16, 1996.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Young of Alaska, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 811]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the Act (S. 
811) to authorize research into the desalinization and 
reclamation of water and authorize a program for States, 
cities, or qualifying agencies desiring to own and operate a 
water desalinization or reclamation facility to develop such 
facilities, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the 
Act as amended do pass.
  The amendments are as follows:
  Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Water Desalination Act of 1996''.

SEC. 2. 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 
        other processes.
          (2) Saline water.--The term ``saline water'' means sea water, 
        brackish water, and other mineralized or chemically impaired 
        water.
          (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 OF RESEARCH AND STUDIES.

  (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;
          (2) ascertaining the optimum mix of investment and operating 
        costs;
          (3) determining the best designs for different conditions of 
        operation;
          (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; and
          (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.
  (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 environmental impacts.
  (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 
accomplishing desalination.

SEC. 4. DESALINATION DEMONSTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT.

  (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 and 
        concepts.
          (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 
        byproducts.
          (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.
  (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. AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION.

  All information from studies sponsored or funded under authority of 
this Act shall be considered public information.

SEC. 6. TECHNICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANCE.

  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. 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. 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. 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 esatblished 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.

  Amend the title so as to read:

      An Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to 
conduct studies regarding the desalination of water and water 
reuse, and for other purposes.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purposes of S. 811 are to authorize the Secretary of 
the Interior to conduct studies regarding the desalination of 
water and water reuse, and to authorize a program for States, 
cities, or qualifying agencies desiring to own and operate a 
water desalination or reclamation facility to develop such 
facilities.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    This bill would renew federal research and development into 
desalination, which is the process of removing organic and 
inorganic elements and compounds from saline or biologically 
impaired waters to make it usable for beneficial consumptive or 
nonconsumptive uses. The federal government devoted significant 
resources to the research and development of desalination 
technology in the 1950s and 1960s.
    Despite the increasing shortage of usable surface and 
ground water in many parts of the United States, there has been 
little federally-sponsored research and development of 
desalination technologies since the early 1980s. However, 
Section 1605 of Public Law 102-575, the Reclamation Projects 
Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992, does authorize the 
Secretary of the Interior to conduct research and to construct, 
operate, and maintain cooperative demonstration projects for 
the development and demonstration of appropriate treatment 
technologies for the reclamation of naturally impaired ground 
and surface waters.
    Additional assistance by the federal government for 
research to develop economically feasible alternatives in the 
desalination and reuse of saline or biologically impaired water 
would be provided under S. 811. Water desalination technologies 
could provide water of a quality suitable for environmental 
enhancement, agricultural, industrial, municipal, and other 
beneficial consumptive or nonconsumptive uses.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    S. 811 was introduced on May 17, 1995, by Senator Paul 
Simon (D-IL), and passed the Senate on May 3, 1996. The bill 
was received in the House of Representatives and referred 
primarily to the Committee on Resources, and secondarily to the 
Committees on Science and Transportation and Infrastructure. 
Within the Committee on Resources, the bill was referred to the 
Subcommittee on Water and Power Resources. On August 1, 1996, 
the Subcommittee was discharged from further consideration of 
the bill and the Full Resources Committee met to consider S. 
811. Congressman John Doolittle (R-CA) offered an amendment in 
the nature of a substitute to: (1) reduce the federal cost 
share to a maximum of 50 percent, with a justification required 
for any federal share exceeding 25 percent; (2) assign 
responsibility for the programs authorized by the Act to the 
Secretary of the Interior; (3) eliminate the provision for an 
international desalination conference; and (4) reduce the 
authorization for appropriations between fiscal years 1997 and 
2002 to a total of $55 million from $75 million. Congressman 
George Miller (D-CA) offered an amendment to the Doolittle 
amendment to include United States-Mexico, binational 
foundations and interuniversity research programs established 
by the two countries among those eligible for grants without 
any cost-sharing requirement. The Miller amendment was adopted 
by voice vote, and the Doolittle amendment, as amended, was 
also adopted by voice vote. The bill as amended was then 
ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives, by 
voice vote, in the presence of a quorum.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    This Act may be cited as the ``Water Desalination Act of 
1996.''

Section 2. Definitions

    This section defines ``desalination or desalting,'' 
``saline water,'' ``usable water,'' ``United States,'' and 
``Secretary.'' Desalination or desalting is defined to 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 other 
processes. Saline water is defined as sea water, brackish 
water, and other mineralized or chemically impaired water. 
Usable water is defined as water of a high quality suitable for 
environmental enhancement, agricultural, industrial, municipal, 
and other beneficial consumptive or nonconsumptive uses.

Section 3. Authorization of research and studies

    This section authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to 
award grants and enter into contracts to conduct, encourage, 
and assist in the financing of research to develop processes 
for converting saline water into water suitable for beneficial 
use. Grants and contracts would be made on the basis of a 
competitive, merit-reviewed process. Specific topics of 
research and study are identified in this section.
    This section requires the Secretary to recommend to 
Congress desalination demonstration projects or full-scale 
desalination projects that have proven successful, so that they 
can be further evaluated and implemented. Recommendations will 
be accompanied by reports on the engineering and economic 
feasibility of the projects and their environmental impacts.
    In implementing and evaluating these activities, the 
Secretary is authorized to 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 
under this section.
    This section further requires the Secretary to ensure that 
at least three separate technologies are evaluated and 
demonstrated for the purposes of accomplishing desalination.

Section 4. Desalination demonstration and development

    This section authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to 
administer and conduct a demonstration and development program 
for water desalination and related activities, including plants 
and modules to develop desalination processes and concepts; 
studies of methods for the marketing of byproducts resulting 
from the desalting of water; and economic studies and surveys 
to determine costs of producing water in various locations by 
desalination processes compared to other methods.
    This section states that federal participation in 
desalination activities may be conducted through cooperative 
agreements. This includes cost sharing agreements with non-
federal public utilities and State and local government 
agencies and other entities, to develop recommendations for 
federal participation in processes and plants utilizing 
desalting technologies for the production of water.

Section 5. Availability of information

    This section stipulates that all information from studies 
sponsored or funded under authority of the Act shall be 
considered public information.

Section 6. Technical and administrative assistance

    This section authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to 
accept technical and administrative assistance from States and 
public or private agencies in connection with the desalting of 
water. The Secretary is authorized to 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.

Section 7. Cost sharing

    This section states that the federal share of the cost of 
activities authorized by this Act shall not exceed 50 percent 
of the total cost. A federal contribution in excess of 25 
percent of the cost of a project may not be made unless the 
Secretary of the Interior determines that the project is not 
feasible without such increased federal obligation. The 
Secretary is directed to prescribe procedures to implement the 
provisions of this section. The costs of operation, 
maintenance, and rehabilitation of facilities funded under the 
authority of this Act shall be entirely non-federal.

Section 8. Authorization of appropriations

    This section authorizes an appropriation of $5,000,000 per 
year for fiscal years 1997 through 2002. Up to $1,000,000 may 
be awarded each fiscal year 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 
costsharing requirement.
    This section also authorizes an appropriation of 
$25,000,000 for fiscal years 1997 through 2002 to carry out 
section 4 of the Act.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    With respect to the requirements of clause 2(l)(3) of rule 
XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, and clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, 
the Committee on Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                     INFLATIONARY IMPACT STATEMENT

    Pursuant to clause 2(l)(4) of rule XI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee estimates that the 
enactment of S. 811 will have no significant inflationary 
impact on prices and costs in the operation of the national 
economy.

                        COST OF THE LEGISLATION

    Clause 7(a) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs which would be incurred in carrying out 
S. 811. However, clause 7(d) of that Rule provides that this 
requirement does not apply when the Committee has included in 
its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the bill 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                     COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XI

    1. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(B) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, S. 811 
does not contain any new credit authority, or an increase or 
decrease in revenues or tax expenditures. Additional 
discretionary spending authority is provided, as described in 
the Congressional Budget Office report, below.
    2. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(D) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and 
recommendations from the Committee on Government Reform and 
Oversight on the subject of S. 811.
    3. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(C) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the 
Committee has received the following cost estimate for S. 811 
from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, August 7, 1996.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congress Budget Office has prepared 
the enclosed cost estimate for S. 811, the Water Desalination 
Research and Development Act of 1996.
    Enacting S. 811 would not affect direct spending or 
receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them.
            Sincerely,
                                              James L. Blum
                                   (For June E. O'Neill, Director).
    Enclosure.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    1. Bill number: S. 811.
    2. Bill title: Water Desalination Act of 1996.
    3. Bill status: As ordered reported by the House Committee 
on Resources on August 1, 1996.
    4. Bill purpose: S. 811 would authorize the Secretary of 
the Interior to award grants and enter into contracts to 
finance research into methods for converting saline water into 
usable water and to administer a desalination program in 
coordination with nonfederal entities. To conduct these 
activities, the legislation would authorize the appropriation 
of $55 million over the 1997-2002 period.
    The federal share of the cost of a research, study, or 
demonstration project under the program could not exceed 50 
percent of the total cost of the project, except that a certain 
amount each year may be awarded to educational institutions for 
research grants without any cost-sharing requirement. 
Nonfederal cost-sharing partners would be responsible for 
operating and maintaining facilities funded under the authority 
of S. 811.
    5. Estimated cost to the Federal Government: Assuming 
appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO estimates that 
enacting S. 811 would result in new discretionary spending 
totaling $50 million over the 1997-2002 period and $5 million 
in 2003. There is no funding under current law for the programs 
that would be authorized by S. 811.

                                    [By fiscal years, in millions of dollars]                                   
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              1997     1998     1999     2000     2001     2002 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION                                       
                                                                                                                
Estimated authorization level.............................        9        9        9        9        9        9
Estimated outlays.........................................        5        9        9        9        9        9
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 
300.
    6. Basis of estimate: CBO assumes that total funding under 
S. 811 would average roughly $9 million a year for each of 
fiscal years 1997 through 2002: $5 million a year, as specified 
for research and development activities, plus approximately $4 
million a year of the $25 million total that is specified for 
the water desalination program. Outlays are estimated based on 
historical spending rates for similar programs.
    7. Pay-as-you-go considerations: None.
    8. Estimated impact on State, local, and tribal 
governments: S. 811 contains no intergovernmental mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 
104-4) and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments. State and local entities that apply for and 
receive grants under this program generally would be required 
to pay at least 50 percent of the cost of research, study, 
demonstration, and desalination development projects. Water 
agencies, including such state and local entities, would be 
required to pay all the costs of operating, maintaining, and 
repairing facilities funded under this act. Up to $1 million 
per year of the amounts authorized for research could be could 
be awarded to institutions of higher education with no required 
match.
    Assuming that appropriations total $55 million over the 
1997-2002 period, and that the maximum amount is used for 
university research grants, nonfederal participants in these 
projects would contribute at least $25 million in matching 
funds over the period. These participants would be primarily 
state and local governments and water agencies.
    9. Estimated impact on the private sector: This legislation 
would impose no new private-sector mandates as defined in 
Public Law 104-4.
    10. Previous CBO estimate: On April 17, 1996, CBO provided 
an estimate for S. 811, as ordered reported by the Senate 
Committee on Environment and Public Works on March 28, 1996. 
The two estimates reflect differences in the two versions of 
the legislation.
    11. Estimate prepared by: Federal Cost Estimate: Gary 
Brown; Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Marjorie 
Miller; Impact on the Private Sector: Amy Downs.
    12. Estimate approved by: Robert A. Sunshine (for Paul N. 
Van de Water, Assistant Director for Budget Analysis).

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    S. 811 contains no unfunded mandates.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, S. 811 would make no changes in existing law.