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                                                       Calendar No. 816
110th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     110-384

======================================================================



 
                  MADERA WATER SUPPLY ENHANCEMENT ACT

                                _______
                                

                 June 16, 2008.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1855]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 1855) to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation to enter 
into a cooperative agreement with the Madera Irrigation 
District for purposes of supporting the Madera Water Supply 
Enhancement Project, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the Act 
do pass.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of H.R. 1855 is to authorize the Secretary of 
the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation to enter 
into a cooperative agreement with the Madera Irrigation 
District for purposes of supporting the Madera Water Supply 
Enhancement Project.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    It is estimated that the aquifer on which the Madera Water 
District (District) relies is being depleted at a rate that 
surpasses the rate of recharge by 100,000 acre-feet per year 
(af/y). The District contends that these withdrawals have 
resulted in lower water tables, requiring wells to be drilled 
deeper in order to maintain the same level of productivity. In 
order to address the reliance on groundwater, historically used 
for agricultural purposes, the District is developing the 
Madera Water Supply Enhancement Project.
    The Project contemplates the creation of a water bank. The 
District would store water in an aquifer underlying the Madera 
Ranch which could be withdrawn for use during drought years. 
Proponents of the Project maintain that the geology of the 
ranch is ideal for aquifer storage, allowing water deposited on 
the surface to quickly percolate to the underlying aquifer 
therein creating a water bank. Water contained in the water 
bank could then be withdrawn during years of water shortages, 
providing a reliable source of water for the District. Based on 
the District's estimates, approximately 250,000 af could be 
stored in the aquifer beneath the Madera Ranch, of which 55,000 
af/y could be withdrawn annually.
    The proposed Project would require the upgrading of 
existing water conveyances, constructing facilities on Madera 
Ranch on which surface water could be deposited for aquifer 
recharge, and groundwater wells and pumps that would withdraw 
water stored in the aquifer for use by the District. The 
Project would help address water supply and environmental 
issues in the San Joaquin River basin.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 1855 was introduced by Representative George 
Radanovich on March 30, 2007 and referred to the House 
Committee on Natural Resources. Under suspension of the rules, 
H.R. 1855 passed the House of Representatives on October 22, 
2007, and was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources. A companion measure, S. 1473 was introduced on May 
24, 2007 by Senator Feinstein and referred to the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources. The Subcommittee on Water and 
Power held a hearing on S. 1473 and H.R. 1855 on February 28, 
2008. At its business meeting on May 7, 2008, the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources ordered H.R. 1855 favorably 
reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on May 7, 2008, by voice vote of a quorum 
present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 1855.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 provides the short title of the Act.
    Section 2 defines terms used in the Act.
    Section 3(a) declares the Project feasible as described.
    Section 3(b) states that the Secretary shall implement the 
Act in accordance with applicable Federal law.
    Section 4 declares that activities authorized by the Act 
shall be undertaken pursuant to a cooperative agreement between 
the Secretary and the District which addresses specific items.
    Section 5(a) authorizes the Secretary, pursuant to Federal 
reclamation laws, to enter into a cooperative agreement with 
the District to provide support for the Project.
    Section 5(b) declares that the total cost for determining 
the Federal cost share shall not exceed $90,000,000.
    Section 5(c) states that the Federal share of the Project's 
capital costs shall not exceed 25 percent of the total cost, 
and that certain costs incurred by the District prior to 
enactment would be considered as part of the non-Federal cost 
share.
    Section 5(d) states that the District shall receive credit 
toward the non-Federal share of the Project's cost for in-kind 
services and other identified items.
    Section 5(e) declares that the Secretary shall not provide 
funds for operation and maintenance of the Project.
    Section 5(f) requires the Secretary to work cooperatively 
with the District and, to the extent possible, use any existing 
plans, designs, and analyses prepared by the District.
    Section 5(g) declares that nothing in the section transfers 
title, responsibility, or liability for the Project to the 
United States.
    Section 5(h) authorizes appropriations in the amount of 25 
percent of the total project cost, up to a maximum of 
$22,500,000.
    Section 6 provides that the authority in the Act shall 
terminate 10 years from the date of enactment.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The Congressional Budget Office estimate of the costs of 
this measure has been requested, but was not received at the 
time the report was filed. When the Congressional Budget Office 
completes its estimate, it will be posted on the Internet at 
www.cbo.gov.

                      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 H.R. 1855. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic 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 H.R. 1855, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    H.R. 1855, as reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariffs benefits as defined by rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Bureau of Reclamation at the 
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee 
hearing on companion measure, S. 1473 follows:

    Statement of Robert J. Quint, Director of Operations, Bureau of 
                Reclamation, Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am Robert 
J. Quint, Director of Operations, Bureau of Reclamation. I am 
pleased to present the Department of the Interior's views on S. 
1473, the Madera Water Supply Enhancement Act. While 
Reclamation has been an active partner with the Madera 
Irrigation District and other entities in studying this 
project, the Department does not support S. 1473.
    Reclamation and the state of California have studied the 
Madera Water Supply Enhancement Project. The purpose of this 
project is to reduce the overdraft of the area's groundwater 
aquifer and improve water supply reliability. In March 2007, 
Reclamation published an appraisal report for this project and 
transmitted it to Congress. Appraisal reports are based upon 
existing information to determine whether additional studies to 
determine Federal feasibility are warranted.
    Reclamation's March 2007 appraisal report identified 
several alternatives, including delineation of groundwater 
recharge areas; engineered recharge basins on the Madera Ranch; 
and direct recharge from the San Joaquin and Fresno Rivers. The 
cost for the project is estimated at approximately $91 million, 
and section 5(b) of the legislation commits the Federal 
government to paying 25 percent of project costs. The total 
storage space is 250,000 acre-feet. However, it is important to 
note that while a maximum of 55,000 acre-feet can be moved to 
and from storage in any given year, the average annual water 
yield is estimated to be 20,000 acre-feet per year. Altogether, 
an appraisal level estimate is that this project would provide 
water at a cost of $420 per acre-foot.
    Although the bill lists eighteen studies that have been 
completed relating to this project, none of these studies meet 
Reclamation's feasibility study criteria. Because Reclamation 
has not completed a feasibility study of the Madera Water 
Supply Enhancement Project, it is premature to authorize 
Federal implementation at this time. Moreover, this project 
would directly compete for funding with other currently 
authorized projects in the CVP service area, including several 
storage studies authorized under the CALFED Program (PL 108-
361).
    Reclamation continues to emphasize completion of ongoing 
projects and the safe and effective maintenance of its aging 
infrastructure. Reclamation must prioritize its program 
activities to ensure that the most worthy projects receive 
funding. In light of these needs, Reclamation allocates funds 
to projects and programs based on objective and performance-
based criteria to most effectively implement Reclamation's 
programs and its management responsibilities for the water and 
power infrastructure in the West.
    The Administration appreciates local efforts to address 
current and future water issues. However, in light of the 
concerns expressed above, the Department does not support S. 
1473.
    That concludes my prepared remarks. I would be pleased to 
answer any questions.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill H.R. 1855, as 
ordered reported.