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                                                       Calendar No. 310
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 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 
studies''.

                           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.

                          Legislative History

    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.

                        Committee Recommendation

    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.

                          Committee Amendment

    An amendment was adopted to eliminate redundant language.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    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 
Division:
    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 
and regulations.
    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 
the Act.

                   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 
Milberg.
    Sincerely,
                                       Douglas Holtz-Eakin,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

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 
inflation.
    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 
voluntarily.
    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 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 648.

                        Executive Communications

    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-
787)

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


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 
and regulations.
    (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 
regulations.
    (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 
this section.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *