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Calendar No. 310
109th Congress Report
1st Session 109-192
WICHITA PROJECT EQUUS BEDS DIVISION AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2005
December 8, 2005.--Ordered to be printed
Filed under authority of the order of the Senate of November 18, 2005
Mr. Domenici, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 1025]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the bill (S. 1025) to amend the Act entitled ``An Act
to provide for the construction of the Cheney division, Wichita
Federal reclamation project, Kansas, and for other purposes''
to authorize the Equus Beds Division of the Wichita Project,
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
The amendment is as follows:
On page 3, lines 14 and 15, strike ``, including principles
and guidelines used in preparing feasibility level project
Purpose of Measure
The purpose of S. 1025 is to authorize the Secretary of the
Interior to assist in the funding and implementation of the
Equus Beds Aquifer Storage and Recharge Project as a division
of the Wichita Federal reclamation project.
Background and Need
Since the 1940s, the Equus Beds Aquifer has supplied water
to the city of Wichita, Kansas. The water supplied from the
aquifer is used as follows: 55 percent for irrigation; 39
percent for municipal needs; and six percent for industrial
purposes. Excessive pumping from the aquifer has resulted in a
groundwater decline of up to 40 feet. The aquifer is further
threatened by saltwater contamination from oilfield brine
contamination left over from a 1930s development project and
natural saltwater from the Arkansas River.
In 1993, Wichita prepared a Water Supply Plan designed to
meet the city's future water supply needs through the year
2050--when it is estimated that such water needs will have
doubled from today's requirements. The Equus Beds Aquifer
Storage and Recharge Project (Project) is an integral component
of the city's Plan.
Because water rights in the Little Arkansas River have
already been allocated, the proposed Project would capture the
excess river flows after it rains or snows. This captured water
would in turn be used to recharge the groundwater in the Equus
Beds Aquifer. The recharge would enhance the aquifer's water
quality and protect it from saltwater plumes. The proposed
Project would also increase the storage and supply capability
of the Bureau of Reclamation's (Bureau) Wichita Project, for
the benefit of the city's municipal and industrial water
customers. According to the bill's proponents, the Little
Arkansas River will also benefit, because base flows in the
river will improve as water levels in the aquifer rise.
Together with the Bureau and the U.S. Geological Survey,
the city completed a five-year Demonstration Project on its
capture and recharge proposal. The city has also completed a
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Water Supply Plan.
S. 1025 was introduced by Senator Roberts on May 12, 2005,
and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
The Water and Power Subcommittee held a hearing on S. 1025 on
October 6, 2005. At the business meeting on November 16, 2005,
the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 1025
favorably reported, with an amendment.
H.R. 1327, companion legislation to S. 1025, was introduced
by Representative Tiahrt on March 15, 2005, and referred to the
House Committee on Resources.
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open
business session on November 16, 2005, by unanimous voice vote
of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 1025,
if amended as described herein.
An amendment was adopted to eliminate redundant language.
Section 1 sets forth the short title.
Section 2 amends ``An Act to provide for the construction
of the Cheney division, Wichita Federal reclamation project,
Kansas, and for other purposes'' (P.L. 86-787) by adding the
following new section 10 to the Act regarding the Equus Beds
Section 10 (a) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to
assist in the funding and implementation of Equus Beds Aquifer
Recharge and Recovery Component of the city of Wichita's Water
Supply Plan. The Project's construction is to be done in
substantial accordance with the plans and designs.
Subsection (b) assigns sole responsibility for the
Project's operation, maintenance, and replacement, including
any associated costs for those functions, to the city of
Wichita and specifies that such operations shall be done in
accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
Subsection (c) authorizes the Secretary to enter into
cooperative agreements or other appropriate agreements,
including any amendments thereto, to carry out this Project.
Subsection (d) authorizes the Secretary to charge an
appropriate share of administrative costs from available funds.
Subsection (e) directs the Secretary, before obligating any
funds for design or construction, to work cooperatively with
the city of Wichita in an attempt to use any plans, designs,
and engineering and environmental analyses that have already
been prepared by the city for the Project. The use of such
information must be in accordance with applicable Federal laws
Subsection (f) makes clear that the United States will not
hold title to the Project.
Subsection (g) authorizes appropriations in an amount not
to exceed 25 percent of the Project's total cost or $30 million
(using January 2003 prices), whichever is less.
This includes any amounts that may be justified due to
construction cost fluctuations. These sums are nonreimbursable.
Subsection (h) terminates the Secretary's authority to
carry out these duties 10 years after the date of enactment of
Cost and Budgetary Considerations
The following estimate of costs of this measure has been
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
December 7, 2005.
Hon. Pete V. Domenici,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1025, the Wichita
Project Equus Beds Division Authorization Act of 2005.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Rachel
S. 1025--Wichita Project Equus Beds Division Authorization Act of 2005
Summary: S. 1025 would authorize the Secretary of the
Interior to participate in the funding and implementation of
the Equus Beds Aquifer Recharge project in Wichita, Kansas.
This aquifer is a primary source of water for the city of
Wichita, along with the Cheney Reservoir. The legislation would
limit the federal share of the project's cost to 25 percent of
total costs, or a maximum of $30 million, plus adjustments for
Assuming appropriation of the authorized amount, CBO
estimates that implementing this bill would cost $15 million
over the 2007-2010 period and another $20 million after 2010,
including adjustments for anticipated inflation. Enacting S.
1025 would not affect direct spending or revenues.
S. 1025 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal
governments. The funds authorized in the bill would benefit the
city of Wichita. Any costs incurred by the city for operating
and maintaining the project would be incurred voluntarily.
Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated
budgetary impact of S. 1025 is shown in the following table.
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300
(natural resources and environment).
By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Estimated authorization level............................ 0 5 5 5 5
Estimated outlays........................................ 0 1 3 5 6
Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that S.
1025 will be enacted in fiscal year 2006 and that the
authorized amount--including adjustments for inflation--will be
appropriated in equal amounts over the 2007-2013 period.
Currently, the estimate of the project's total cost is $120
million; therefore, under S. 1025, the federal share of the
project's current cost (before adjusting for inflation) would
equal the maximum level of $30 million specified in the bill.
After adjusting for anticipated inflation, CBO estimates that
the federal share of the project would cost $35 million.
Based on information from the Bureau of Reclamation and
historical spending patterns of similar projects, CBO estimates
that implementing this bill would cost $15 million over the
2007-2010 period and another $20 million after 2010.
Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1025
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or
tribal governments. The funds authorized in the bill would
benefit the city of Wichita. Any costs incurred by the city for
operating and maintaining the project would be incurred
Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Rachel Milberg, impact
on state, local, and tribal governments: Lisa Ramirez-Branum;
impact on the private sector: Page Piper/Bach.
Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
Regulatory Impact Evaluation
In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in
carrying out S. 1025.
The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of
imposing Government-established standards or significant
responsibilities on private individuals and businesses.
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of S. 648.
The testimony provided by the Department of the Interior at
the Subcommittee hearing on S. 1025 follows:
Statement of William E. Rinne, Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of
Reclamation, Department of the Interior
Madam Chairman, I am William E. Rinne, Deputy Commissioner
of the Bureau of Reclamation. I am pleased to present the
Administration's views on S. 1025, Senator Roberts's bill to
authorize the Equus Beds Division of the Wichita Project.
Although the project has merit, budgetary constraints prevent
the Administration from supporting the bill at this time.
For water management purposes, S. 1025 would authorize this
project as a division of the existing Wichita Project. The
Equus Beds Division would recharge the groundwater in the Equus
Beds Aquifer and would provide significant new underground
water storage capacity for municipal and industrial water
customers in the city of Wichita, Kansas without inundating
large surface areas. This project would enhance the storage and
supply capability of the Wichita Project, an above-ground
reservoir built and owned by the Bureau of Reclamation.
As a supplement to the existing Reclamation project, the
Equus Beds Division is consistent with Reclamation's current
mission. The fact that S. 1025 caps the ultimate Federal cost
at 25 percent, or $30 million whichever is less, limits
uncertainty as to the ultimate federal share of the costs.
Having partnered with the City of Wichita on an earlier
groundwater recharge demonstration, Reclamation is familiar
with the current proposal to recharge the groundwater in the
Equus Beds Aquifer. Recharging the Equus Beds Aquifer has the
potential to efficiently expand the effective amount of stored
water that is ultimately available, because it significantly
reduces losses due to surface evaporation.
S. 1025 would require the city to pay 75 percent of the
cost of development and 100 percent of operations and
maintenance costs. The Federal government would not hold title
to the facilities.
Water rights for this project have been resolved. In 1998,
the State issued the City of Wichita a conjunctive use water
rights permit that replaced and combined two previous city
permits, one for the Wichita Project, the other for the Equus
Beds Groundwater Aquifer. By combining the permits for these
two resources into a single, integrated operation, the city can
more effectively and economically deliver water to municipal
and industrial customers.
Madam Chairman, throughout the city's planning process,
including extensive public involvement with input from State
and Federal agencies, no significant opposition to Equus Beds
surfaced. However, given Reclamation's already tight budget, we
are not in a position to support the addition of this project
to the list of unfunded projects already authorized and
awaiting Federal funding.
Madam Chairman, this concludes my testimony and I am
pleased to answer any questions the Committee may have.
Changes in Existing Law
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by
the bill S. 1025, as ordered reported, are shown as follows
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black
brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in
which no change is proposed is shown in roman):
AN ACT To provide for the construction of the Cheney division, Wichita
Federal reclamation project, Kansas, and for other purposes (P.L. 86-
* * * * * * *
SEC. 10. EQUUS BEDS DIVISION.
(a) Authorization.--The Secretary of the Interior may
assist in the funding and implementation of the Equus Beds
Aquifer Recharge and Recovery Component which is a part of the
`Integrated Local Water Supply Plan, Wichita, Kansas' (referred
to in this section as the `Equus Beds Division'). Construction
of the Equus Beds Division shall be in substantial accordance
with the plans and designs.
(b) Operation, Maintenance, and Replacement.--Operation,
maintenance, and replacement of the Equus Beds Division,
including funding for those purposes, shall be the sole
responsibility of the City of Wichita, Kansas. The Equus Beds
Division shall be operated in accordance with applicable laws
(c) Agreements.--The Secretary of the Interior may enter
into, or agree to amendments of, cooperative agreements and
other appropriate agreements to carry out this section.
(d) Administrative Costs.--From funds made available for
this section, the Secretary of the Interior may charge an
appropriate share related to administrative costs incurred.
(e) Plans and Analyses Consistent With Federal Law.--Before
obligating funds for design or construction under this section,
the Secretary of the Interior shall work cooperatively with the
City of Wichita, Kansas, to use, to the extent possible, plans,
designs, and engineering and environmental analyses that have
already been prepared by the City for the Equus Beds Division.
The Secretary of the Interior shall assure that such
information is used consistent with applicable Federal laws and
(f) Title; Responsibility; Liability.--Nothing in this
section or assistance provided under this section shall be
construed to transfer title, responsibility, or liability
related to the Equus Beds Division (including portions or
features thereof) to the United States.
(g) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized
to be appropriated as the Federal share of the total cost of
the Equus Beds Division, an amount not to not exceed 25 percent
of the total cost or $30,000,000 (January, 2003 prices),
whichever is less, plus or minus such amounts, if any, as may
be justified by reason of ordinary fluctuations in construction
costs as indicated by engineering cost indexes applicable to
the type of construction involved herein, whichever is less.
Such sums shall be nonreimbursable.
(h) Termination of Authority.--The authority of the
Secretary of the Interior to carry out any provision of this
section shall terminate 10 years after the date of enactment of
* * * * * * *