[House Hearing, 112 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
EXAMINING THE SPENDING, PRIORITIES AND THE MISSIONS OF THE BUREAU OF
RECLAMATION AND THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY'S WATER RESOURCES PROGRAM
SUBCOMMITTEE ON WATER AND POWER
COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Serial No. 112-4
Printed for the use of the Committee on Natural Resources
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Committee address: http://naturalresources.house.gov
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COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES
DOC HASTINGS, WA, Chairman
EDWARD J. MARKEY, MA, Ranking Democrat Member
Don Young, AK Dale E. Kildee, MI
John J. Duncan, Jr., TN Peter A. DeFazio, OR
Louie Gohmert, TX Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, AS
Rob Bishop, UT Frank Pallone, Jr., NJ
Doug Lamborn, CO Grace F. Napolitano, CA
Robert J. Wittman, VA Rush D. Holt, NJ
Paul C. Broun, GA Raul M. Grijalva, AZ
John Fleming, LA Madeleine Z. Bordallo, GU
Mike Coffman, CO Jim Costa, CA
Tom McClintock, CA Dan Boren, OK
Glenn Thompson, PA Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan,
Jeff Denham, CA CNMI
Dan Benishek, MI Martin Heinrich, NM
David Rivera, FL Ben Ray Lujan, NM
Jeff Duncan, SC Donna M. Christensen, VI
Scott R. Tipton, CO John P. Sarbanes, MD
Paul A. Gosar, AZ Betty Sutton, OH
Raul R. Labrador, ID Niki Tsongas, MA
Kristi L. Noem, SD Pedro R. Pierluisi, PR
Steve Southerland II, FL John Garamendi, CA
Bill Flores, TX Colleen W. Hanabusa, HI
Andy Harris, MD
Jeffrey M. Landry, LA
Charles J. ``Chuck'' Fleischmann,
Jon Runyan, NJ
Bill Johnson, OH
Todd Young, Chief of Staff
Lisa Pittman, Chief Counsel
Jeffrey Duncan, Democrat Staff Director
Rick Healy, Democrat Chief Counsel
SUBCOMMITTEE ON WATER AND POWER
TOM McCLINTOCK, CA, Chairman
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, CA, Ranking Democrat Member
Louie Gohmert, TX Jim Costa, CA
Jeff Denham, CA Raul M. Grijalva, AZ
Scott R. Tipton, CO Ben Ray Lujan, NM
Paul A. Gosar, AZ John Garamendi, CA
Raul R. Labrador, ID Edward J. Markey, MA, ex officio
Kristi L. Noem, SD
Doc Hastings, WA, ex officio
Hearing held on Wednesday, March 2, 2011......................... 1
Statement of Members:
Costa, Hon. Jim, a Representative in Congress from the State
of California.............................................. 11
Garamendi, Hon. John, a Representative in Congress from the
State of California........................................ 9
Lujan, Hon. Ben Ray, a Representative in Congress from the
State of New Mexico........................................ 8
McClintock, Hon. Tom, a Representative in Congress from the
State of California........................................ 3
Prepared statement of.................................... 4
Napolitano, Hon. Grace F., a Representative in Congress from
the State of California.................................... 5
Prepared statement of.................................... 6
Noem, Hon. Kristi L., a Representative in Congress from the
State of South Dakota...................................... 9
Tipton, Hon. Scott R., a Representative in Congress from the
State of Colorado.......................................... 7
Statement of Witnesses:
Connor, Hon. Michael L., Commissioner, U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation, U.S. Department of the Interior............... 12
Prepared statement of.................................... 14
Werkheiser, William, Associate Director for Water, U.S.
Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior......... 20
Prepared statement of.................................... 21
OVERSIGHT HEARING TITLED ``EXAMINING THE SPENDING, PRIORITIES AND THE
MISSIONS OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION AND THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY'S
WATER RESOURCES PROGRAM.''
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
U.S. House of Representatives
Subcommittee on Water and Power
Committee on Natural Resources
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:02 a.m. in
Room 1334, Longworth House Office Building, The Honorable Tom
McClintock [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
Present: Representatives McClintock, Gohmert, Denham,
Tipton, Gosar, Labrador, Noem, Markey, Napolitano, Grijalva,
Costa, Lujan, and Garamendi.
Mr. McClintock. The Subcommittee on Water and Power will
come to order. The Chair notes the presence of a quorum, which
under Committee Rule 3[e] is two members.
The Water and Power Subcommittee meets today to examine the
spending priorities and the missions of the Bureau of
Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey's Water Resources
Program. We also meet under the mandate of House Resolution 72,
to identify regulatory impediments to job creation.
Today's hearing is the first one held by the Subcommittee
in the 112th Congress. At the outset of each new Congress it is
customary for the Chairman and the Ranking Minority Member to
introduce their new members, whether they are here or not so I
will start and then defer to the Subcommittee's Ranking
Minority Member for her introductions.
I am Tom McClintock. I have the pleasure of representing
the 4th District of California, which is the headwaters area
for the mighty Sacramento River. Prior to my service here in
Congress, I served in the California State Legislature for 22
The most senior Republican on the Subcommittee is
Congressman Louie Gohmert, who represents the 1st District of
Texas. Mr. Gohmert is in his fourth congressional term and
served in the U.S. Army and was a District Judge in Smith
Next is Congressman Jeff Denham, who represents the 19th
District of California. Congressman Denham is an Air Force
veteran, former California State Senator, and has worked
extensively in agriculture.
Next is Scott Tipton of Cortez, Colorado. Congressman
Tipton is a small businessman and former Colorado State
Dr. Paul Gosar is from Flagstaff, Arizona. He is a dentist
and small businessman serving his first term.
Congressman Raul Labrador from Eagle, Idaho, also serves on
the Subcommittee. Congressman Labrador is a former member of
the Idaho State Legislature and an attorney who ran his own law
practice until being elected to Congress in this term.
I am also pleased to welcome Congresswoman Kristi Noem of
Hamlin County, South Dakota. Congresswoman Noem is a former
member of the South Dakota House of Representatives and a small
business owner who spent her life working in agriculture.
And now I am pleased to recognize the Ranking Minority
Member of the Subcommittee, former Chairwoman of the
Subcommittee and my former colleague in the California
Legislature, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano for the
introduction of the Subcommittee's Minority Members.
Mrs. Napolitano. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for
the opportunity to begin the first hearing in Congress on this
Subcommittee. I have had the pleasure of serving on this
Subcommittee, this is my thirteenth year and I, too, came from
a State Assembly, but I also have city background as well as
state background, and I am really happy to be here. I love this
Subcommittee and look forward to working with you.
My first introduction will be of Congressman Jim Costa, who
is not present yet. He is a third generation farmer--born and
raised in the San Joaquin Valley. He owns almond farms, and he
also served in the State Assembly at the same time I did. Jim's
knowledge of California water is very comprehensive. This is
his fourth term on the Water and Power Subcommittee, and we
We also have Congressman Raul Grijalva from Arizona, a
teacher, former Pima County Commissioner, and continues to be a
member of the Subcommittee in this 112th Congress. He is
serving as the Ranking Member for the National Parks, Forests
and Public Lands Subcommittee.
We have present Congressman Ben Lujan from Nambe, New
Mexico. Ben was the Chair of the New Mexico Public Regulatory
Commission, worked closely with the Subcommittee sponsoring two
significant water settlements in the 111th Congress, and
continues to work on critical water issues for the State of New
Mexico, and we welcome him.
And my last introduction is of a friend and a long-time
California legislator, Congressman John Garamendi from
California, former Lieutenant Governor, and former Insurance
Commissioner. While this is his first time on the Subcommittee,
he is no stranger to water in our jurisdiction. He also was the
Deputy Secretary for the Department of the Interior in the
Clinton Administration. We welcome all our Members, and with
that I yield back.
Mr. McClintock. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF HON. TOM McCLINTOCK, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. McClintock. With today's hearing, the Water and Power
Subcommittee will begin the process of restoring abundance as
the principal objective of America's Federal water and power
policy. We meet today to receive testimony from the Bureau of
Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey on their plans for
the coming year. As I said, we do so in conjunction not only
with our responsibility under the Federal Budget Act to provide
guidance to the House Budget Committee as it prepares its 2012
budget, but also under our responsibility pursuant to House
Resolution 72, to identify regulations and practices of the
government that are impeding job creation and burdening
In my opinion, all of these hearings and all of the actions
stemming from them must be focused on developing the vast water
and hydroelectric resources in our nation. The failure of the
last generation to keep pace with our water and power needs has
caused chronic water shortages and sky rocketing electricity
prices that are causing our economy serious harm. In addition,
willful policies that have deliberately misallocated our
resources must be reversed.
California's Central Valley, where 200 billion gallons of
water were deliberately diverted away from vital agriculture
for the enjoyment and amusement of the two-inch Delta Smelt is
a case in point. These water diversions have destroyed a
quarter million acres of the most fertile farmland in America.
They have thrown tens of thousands of farm families into
unemployment, and have impacted fruit, vegetable, and nut
prices in grocery stores across America. I will announce today
that we will be holding a formal hearing on this matter in the
Central Valley within the next 60 days.
In Northern Arizona, 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectricity,
enough to power roughly a million homes, has been sacrificed in
the name of the humpback chub. In the Klamath, the government
is seeking to destroy four perfectly good hydroelectric dams at
the cost of more than a half billion dollars at a time when we
can't guarantee enough electricity to keep refrigerators
running in the summer. The rationale is to save the salmon, but
the same proposal would close the Iron Gate Fish Hatchery that
produces five million salmon smolt each year.
Meanwhile, funds that ought to be going to water and power
development are instead being squandered on subsidizing low-
flow toilets, salmon festivals, tiger salamander studies, and
grants to private associations whose principal activity is to
sue the Federal Government. We have also thrown hundreds of
millions of taxpayer dollars into wildly expensive conservation
programs that do little or nothing to develop new water and
power resources. Well, those days are over. It is the objective
of this Subcommittee to restore the original and as yet
unfulfilled mission of the Bureau of Reclamation to develop and
utilize our nation's vast water and hydroelectric resources to
build a new era of abundance and prosperity for our nation. And
I might add, also to complete the greening of the West, to tame
the environmentally devastating cycle of floods and droughts,
and to assure the perpetuation and propagation of all species
through expansion of fish hatcheries and other cost-effective
We will seek to inventory all of our potential water and
power resources, establish and apply a uniform cost-benefit
analysis to prioritize financing for those projects that
produce the greatest benefits at the lowest costs, and restore
the ``beneficiary pays'' doctrine that assures those who
benefit from these projects pay for these projects, protecting
general taxpayers of one community from being plundered for
projects that exclusively benefit another.
With these policies in place, we can fulfill the Bureau's
original mission--to make the desert bloom and open a new era
in America where water and power shortages and the policies
that created them are a distant and unhappy memory.
I also want to acknowledge the past work of the U.S.
Geological Survey that has produced accurate and reliable data
necessary for Sound resource policy and management. Today I
will merely express the expectation that it will take stronger
steps to resist efforts to politicize or compromise its work. I
especially endorse Mr. Werkheiser's statement that ``the public
deserves to know whether its investments are having tangible
I hope that this Administration will become a partner in
this new era of abundance, rather than an obstacle. The
rationing of shortages has never solved a shortage. Only a
policy of abundance can do that. We have wasted not only money,
but time, and we can afford to waste no more of either. With
that, I will recognize the Ranking Minority Member,
Congresswoman Napolitano, for five minutes.
[The prepared statement of Chairman McClintock follows:]
Statement of The Honorable Tom McClintock, Chairman,
Subcommittee on Water and Power
With today's hearing, the Water and Power Sub-Committee will begin
the process of restoring abundance as the principal objective of
America's Federal water and power policy. We meet today to receive
testimony from the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological
Service on their plans for the coming year. We do so in conjunction
with our responsibility under the Federal Budget Act to provide
guidance to the House Budget Committee as it prepares the 2012 budget
and with our responsibility under House Resolution 72 to identify
regulations and practices of the government that are impeding job
creation and burdening economic growth.
In my opinion, all of these hearings and all of the actions
stemming from them must be focused on developing the vast water and
hydro-electric resources in our nation. The failure of the last
generation to keep pace with our water and power needs has caused
chronic water shortages and skyrocketing electricity prices that are
causing serious economic harm.
In addition, willful policies that have deliberately misallocated
our resources must be reversed.
California's Central Valley, where 200 billion gallons of water
were deliberately diverted away from vital agriculture for the
enjoyment and amusement of the 2-inch Delta Smelt is a case in point.
These water diversions have destroyed a quarter million acres of the
most fertile farmland in America, thrown tens of thousands of farm
families into unemployment and impacted fruit, vegetable and nut prices
in grocery stores across America.
In Northern Arizona, 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectricity--enough to
power a million homes--has been lost due to environmental mandates for
the humpback chub.
In the Klamath, the federal government is seeking to destroy four
perfectly good hydroelectric dams at the cost of more than a half
billion dollars at a time when we can't guarantee enough electricity to
keep refrigerators running this summer. The rationale is to save the
salmon, but the same proposal would close the Iron Gate Fish Hatchery
that produces 5 million salmon smolt each year.
Meanwhile, funds that ought to be going to water and power
development are instead being squandered on subsidizing low-flow
toilets, salmon festivals, tiger salamander studies and grants to
private associations whose principal activity is to sue the federal
We have also thrown hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into
wildly expensive conservation programs that do little or nothing to
develop new water and power resources.
Those days are over.
It is the objective of this sub-committee to restore the original--
and as yet unfulfilled--mission of the Bureau of Reclamation--to
develop and utilize our nation's vast water and hydroelectric resources
to build a new era of abundance and prosperity for our nation.
And, I might add, to complete the greening of the west, to tame the
environmentally devastating cycle of floods and droughts and to assure
the perpetuation and propagation of all species through expansion of
fish hatcheries and other cost-effective means.
We will seek to inventory all of our potential water and power
resources, establish and apply a uniform cost-benefit analysis to
prioritize financing for those projects that produce the greatest
benefits at the lowest costs, and to restore the ``beneficiary pays''
doctrine that assures those who benefit from these projects pay for
these projects, protecting general taxpayers of one community from
being plundered for projects that exclusively benefit another.
With these policies in place, we can fulfill the Bureau's original
mission, to make the desert bloom and to open a new era in America
where water and power shortages--and the policies that created them--
are a distant memory.
I also want to acknowledge the past work of the U.S. Geological
Survey that produced accurate and reliable data necessary for sound
resource policy and management. Today I will merely express the
expectation that it will take stronger steps to resist efforts to
politicize or compromise its work. I especially endorse Mr.
Werkheiser's statement that ``the public deserves to know whether its
investments are having tangible results.''
I hope that this administration will become a partner in this new
era of abundance rather than an obstacle. The rationing of shortages
has never solved a shortage--only a policy of abundance can do that. We
have wasted not only money but time, and we can afford to waste no more
STATEMENT OF HON. GRACE NAPOLITANO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mrs. Napolitano. Thank you, Mr. Chair, and my warm welcome
to both Commissioner Connor and Mr. Werkheiser. Thank you both
for coming before us once more. Your budget request reflects
the very different aspects of Reclamation's mission: Tribal
water rights settlements, non-tribal settlements like San
Joaquin, operation and maintenance costs, as well as
environmental restoration projects, which many of the farmers
agree is essential for their delivery of fresh water.
Reclamation's budget requests have one thing in common.
These actions keep the water running, allow for power
production, and provide water certainty for all the communities
involved. Many of them have voiced their opinions about how
they feel and where and when they need the help. Reclamation's
budget request allows Reclamation to meet its core mission.
There are other things I would love to see the Bureau do and,
hopefully in the future as the budgets are allocated, we may be
able to increase certain aspects, such as youth hiring and
other areas that are really critical to the job development.
Reclamation, like other agencies, has had to adjust to the
economic environment, but has also found a way to do more with
less, and part of that is a Title XVI program that has become
very--I don't just say popular--essential to meeting real water
production in the West--by doing more with less by funding
programs that leverage the Federal investment through an
extremely robust, non-Federal cost share. These examples
include the San Joaquin Restoration Fund where farmers have
paid tens of millions to the settlement fund, WaterSMART Grants
that are a 50/50 cost share, and the Title XVI Water Recycling
Programs: 1 Federal dollar is leveraged for every 3 local
dollars for each authorization (25% Federal to 75% non-
We must also look at the possibility of being able to
assure loan guarantees for some of those smaller entities that
are unable because of their budgets or because of their size to
move forward with the projects that are essential to the well-
being of those communities.
If we are really talking about doing more with less, the
Title XVI Water Recycling Program is a perfect example of the
program that does more with less. More water, more jobs. What
good is it to save the money if we don't have water for jobs?
Jobs are essential, but water is economy.
Ongoing concerns, of course, are major and one of those
major ones is aging infrastructure. We have not even assessed
where we are with providing for many of the areas that we have
only put money into developing, and the O&M has been fairly
sufficient. But the aging of that infrastructure is going to
cost us more money than we are prepared for right now--the
rehabilitation of decades-old facilities.
USGS is also experiencing drastic cuts to their groundwater
program. How is this going to affect our groundwater
management? I am thoroughly familiar with Landsat 8, and I am
certainly hopeful that this is going to continue, this valuable
tool for all of the entities involved. Also, providing our
water managers with the baseline data they need to combat
climate change is crucial and what this means for our future
water supplies. We cannot expect Mother Nature to comply with
anything and everything we have in mind, so we must be prepared
to ensure that we can meet some of those challenges and prepare
our entities to ensure that they too can provide for their
members, for their end users, if you will.
We are also looking at ways to finance--again through
public/private partnerships. We have been discussing them in
Transportation. There is no reason why we cannot begin looking
at formulating those public/private partnerships within our
water areas. Water knows no political affiliation. It must be a
nonpartisan issue. Water is economy. Water is essential to the
well-being of our communities, and we must work together to be
able to reach those areas of assistance to those that cannot.
We look forward to working with you, Mr. Chair, and yield
back the balance of my time.
[The prepared statement of Mrs. Napolitano follows:]
Statement of The Honorable Grace F. Napolitano, a Representative in
Congress from the State of California
Good Morning. Welcome Commissioner Connor and Mr. Werkheiser from
Today's budget request reflects the very different aspects of
Reclamation's mission: Tribal water rights settlements, non-tribal
settlements like San Joaquin, operation and maintenance costs, as well
as environmental restoration projects. The Bureau of Reclamation's
budget requests and priorities have one thing in common: these actions
keep the water running, allow for power production, and provide water
certainty for all the communities involved. In short, Reclamation's
budget requests allow Reclamation to meet its core mission.
Reclamation like other agencies has had to adjust to the economic
environment but also found a way to of doing more with less. They are
doing more with less by funding programs that leverage the federal
investment through an extremely robust non federal cost share.
Examples of this include San Joaquin Restoration Fund, where
farmers have paid tens of millions to the settlement fund, WaterSMART
Grants that are 50/50 at a Cost Share, and the Title XVI Water
Recycling Programs: $1 federal dollar is leveraged to every $3 local
dollars for each authorization (25% Federal to 75% non-federal).
If we are really talking about doing more with less, the Title XVI
water recycling program is a perfect example of a program that does
``more with less.'' More Water, More Jobs. What good is it to save
money if we don't have water for jobs?
We still have some ongoing concerns that we still must address.
This includes finding a solution for our aging infrastructure, and the
rehabilitation of decades old facilities. The USGS has also experienced
drastic cuts to their groundwater program. How does this affect our
Are we providing our water managers with the baseline data they
need to combat climate change and what does this mean for our future
water supplies? And finally, are we also looking at other ways of
financing, through public/private partnerships?
Water knows no political affiliation and I look forward to working
with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in finding solutions to our
Mr. McClintock. Thank you. It is customary on the
Subcommittee to recognize any other Members who wish to make
opening statements to do so. In keeping with the Natural
Resource Committee precedent, I will recognize Members present
when the Committee comes to order in order of seniority
followed by order of arrival, alternating between the Majority
and the Minority, and I understand Mr. Tipton has an opening
STATEMENT OF HON. SCOTT TIPTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF COLORADO
Mr. Tipton. Thank you, Chairman McClintock, for convening
today's hearing, and I would like to join my colleagues in
welcoming our panelists as we examine the budget and priorities
of the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey's
Water Resources Program.
I come from the headwaters state, Colorado. Our population
is expected to nearly double by 2050, and much of this growth
will take place in my district on the western slope of
Colorado. It is estimated that some areas in my district will
see growth rates as high as 240 percent. Increasing water
storage will play an important role in meeting the additional
water needs brought on by this population increase. We can
never underestimate the importance of water in all of our
lives. In Colorado, we refer to it as our life blood for
farmers and ranch communities for the development of our
communities as well and proud to be able to serve on this
Committee, and I look forward to hearing your testimony.
I yield back, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. Are there Members of the Minority, Mr.
Mrs. Napolitano. Yes, Mr. Lujan.
STATEMENT OF HON. BEN LUJAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO
Mr. Lujan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member
Napolitano. Mr. Chairman, thank you for convening this hearing
today so that we can talk about the important work that the
Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Geological Survey do to develop
and operate our water infrastructure across the country. I
would like to thank Commissioner Connor and Associate Director
Werkheiser for making themselves available for questions about
the proposed budget for 2012.
I would like to point out the importance of the Bureau of
Reclamation to our country, and especially in the West where I
come from. In the West, our water resources are precious and
the Bureau of Reclamation helps us, especially in New Mexico,
to ensure our water is used efficiently, that water is
available for irrigation, the infrastructure like dams, water
pipeline and reliable electric power is made available to the
public and, as we know with the Navajo Nation, the simplicity
of having water to drink.
This infrastructure strengthen the backbone of America by
making resources available for economies to grow while helping
to preserve vital resources like water in a place where it is
scarce. More specifically, I would like to highlight some
projects within the proposed budget that are crucial for water
certainty and economic development in my district: the Animas-
La Plata Project, which is scheduled to be completed by 2013 in
fulfillment of the Colorado Settlement Act of 2000; the Middle
Rio Grande project to continue operation and maintenance of
project facilities and flood protection; dam safety funding,
which includes El Vado Dam in the northern part of my district;
the Jicarilla Apache Rural Water Project; and funding for three
Native American water rights settlements that will bring water
certainty to thousands of New Mexicans.
These are just a few of many critical projects throughout
the West and without funding for these critical
infrastructures, especially in rural New Mexico and across
rural America, economic development, water resource
infrastructure, and flood protection would be virtually
nonexistent for the people of New Mexico.
In addition, I would like to highlight the critical nature
of funding for three Native American water settlements that
were passed as part of the Claims Resolution Act in the 111th
Congress and what they mean to the people of New Mexico. Before
these settlements were agreed to, the dispute over water in
these cases was locked into litigation for over 35 years--in
some instance over 45 years. Realizing the cost and uncertainty
of continued litigation, both the Indian and non-Indian
parties, including the State of New Mexico, came to the table
and agreed that resolving the conflict through water
settlements was a mutually beneficial way of resolving disputes
for water rights. The new Indian Water Rights Settlement
Account is crucial to funding Federal obligations to tribal
communities for water infrastructure, commitments by the State
of New Mexico through the State Engineer, and the Bureau of
Reclamation. They all play a big part in making the settlement
happen. It is essential to maintain support for these important
With that, Mr. Chairman, I thank you. I yield back my time
and look forward to the questions.
Mr. McClintock. I understand Congresswoman Noem has an
STATEMENT OF HON. KRISTI NOEM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA
Ms. Noem. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to thank Mr.
Connor and Mr. Werkheiser for testifying today as well, and I
have a special guest I would like to introduce as well. I have
my daughter, Kennedy Noem, who is with me all this week, so she
is sitting behind me so I want to thank you for allowing me the
time to introduce her.
You know, I wasn't around in the early 1900s when Congress
established Reclamation to provide water and power and ag
irrigation to help settle the West, but as a native South
Dakotan, I have seen how critical infrastructure such as rural
water projects can benefit and develop rural communities. Many
of these projects bring much needed economic development to
rural areas and Indian tribes in my home state. There are many
projects that help spur the economy and create jobs across the
But while looking at Reclamation spending history, I have
been appalled to see thousands of dollars of grants go toward
studying things such as the California adult tiger salamander,
a golf course irrigation study, or a high efficiency toilet
rebate system while we have real projects that have gone on and
were started years ago but haven't been funded. So those are
some of the things that I am very concerned about and I am
looking forward to hearing your priorities for funding and for
projects into the future, so thank you for coming.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Garamendi.
Mr. Garamendi. I believe my colleague Mr. Costa has
seniority, and if he would like to----
Mr. McClintock. As I explained, the custom of the Natural
Resources Committee is to introduce Members based upon their
seniority at time of arrival when the gavel falls followed by
order of arrival thereafter.
Mr. Garamendi. Then I will proceed. Sorry, Jim.
Mr. Costa. No, I am always willing to defer to the
gentleman from Northern California.
Mr. Garamendi. Well, we are saving the best for last, OK?
Mr. Costa. Makes no matter.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN GARAMENDI, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. Garamendi. I want to welcome our witnesses. I have had
the pleasure of working with them in the past, and they are
outstanding gentlemen and on top of their game for either the
research side of it or the implementation side. I look forward
to their testimony.
I also thank the Chairman for very clearly defining what he
intends to accomplish as Chairman of this Subcommittee and what
we can look forward to over the next 18 months as this
Subcommittee proceeds to presumably create an era of abundance
at a time with significant climate uncertainty as to what is
The challenge before us is how to meet the multiple goals
that every society should have. Obviously we need water. Life
doesn't exist, at least on this planet, without it except in
some very strange places, but we need water. We also need
balance, and the agenda that has been laid out to us by the
Chairman is one that is not balanced. It is one that would, in
fact, lead to destruction of very, very important economic
activities and very, very important ecological and activities
that we must pay attention to because in fact we live in a
complex world that is dependent not only upon abundant water,
but also upon the other attributes and the nature around us.
If we ignore, for example, the fact that in the California
Delta there has been a dramatic decline, in fact a collapse of
the fisheries. It is not enough to say that we should take more
water from the Delta and not worry about that. I suppose we
could say that if we were not worried about the tens of
thousands of families that are dependent upon the fisheries in
the Delta upon the aquatic habitat there, and upon those who
take water from the Delta, not necessarily through the pumps.
Indeed, the agricultural valley is important, but most of
the unemployment in the agriculture valley has to do with the
collapse not of water but of housing. The west side is an area
in which farms have fallowed some acreage, no doubt about it,
but that west side is also the area that has had the last--the
shortest straw. We are going to have to balance this.
With regard to the Klamath, OK, let us fight about the
Klamath. We fought with the Klamath for more than 40 years. An
accord has been reached, and what the Chairman is suggesting is
that we throw that accord aside and start the fighting once
more. That seems to be not the way to go. We are going to have
to find balance here. If we are going to achieve abundance, it
is going to have to be done in a balanced way. If it is not a
balanced way, it isn't going to work for a variety of reasons.
It is not just the Endangered Species Act.
It is the fact that the communities in the West understand
that we have to have balance. It is not just water, and it is
not just water enough to willy nilly waste and let it go
wherever it may go down the drain, but there is a balance that
has to be achieved.
A lot of hoo-haaing about toilets, let me give you an
example of toilets. Mona Lake has literally been saved by
changing out the toilets in the City of Los Angeles. Instead of
five gallons, two-three-gallon toilets, every single toilet in
the City of Los Angeles was changed out, replaced, and the
result Mona Lake has been saved. We can achieve a balance, and
I would urge this Committee to look to balance in all we do.
A one-sided solution isn't going to work. We have proved
that over the last century as the Bureau of Reclamation for
more than 75 percent of its time did not think about balance.
Now it is, and there is more that we can and will do to provide
water where and when it may be necessary. So, Mr. Chairman, I
look forward to engaging with you.
Mr. McClintock. Next is Mr. Costa.
STATEMENT OF HON. JIM COSTA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. Costa. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for holding
this timely hearing on the President's budget with the Bureau
of Reclamation and the Geological Survey as well. I want to
apologize to the non-Californians who are part of this
Subcommittee. You will hear a lot about California water. Bear
with us. This is nothing new. Mark Twain, I think, got it right
when he was a reporter in California at the Mariposa Gazette
over 100 years ago when he observed that in the West whiskey
was made for drinking and water was made for fighting. We have
been fighting over these water resources for some time now.
I would like to focus most of my comments in my opening
statement, as well as when we get to the question rounds, Mr.
Connor, on, as another speaker once noted, Tip O'Neill, all
politics are local, and while the Ranking Member indicated
water should not be political, unfortunately we have noted,
especially in the last two years, that it has become very
political, and I think that there are a lot of efforts and
issues that we have been engaged in that I want to bear with me
this morning as it relates to one--the allocation of water
among the--especially in light of the additional snow pack that
we have received this year. We have most of the areas both
Federal and now the state service contractors that are near 100
percent are 100 percent of their allocation, yet we have the
San Luis unit at 50 percent of its allocation. You have
demonstrated administrative flexibility, which we urged you to
over a year ago and, as a result, we did receive 50 percent
last year. I think we can do better this year. We need to
engage on that.
I want to talk to you about the efforts with regard to the
San Joaquin River Settlement Agreement, 18 years of contentious
litigation. We are now implementing it, but I think there are
some real problems in terms of the phases of implementation
that we need to set back and pause as it relates to whether or
not we are going to be successful in this program. I don't
think we have the resources there although in the budget you
have added some more dollars, and that is helpful in what is a
cutback generally speaking on many of your budget priorities as
I have looked through it in the last day or so.
Then the third issue I want to discuss with you is the Bay-
Delta Conservation Plan, which I think is essential if we are
going to solve for the non-Californians here some of these
contentious fights that we have been dealing with for decades.
California is a growing state still, 38 million people. By the
year 2030 we are estimated to have 50 million people. We have a
water system in the state that is designed for about 20 million
people, and while we engage or try to use all the water tools
in our water toolbox, it is obvious still that some of the
solutions are in conflict and some of the solutions are yet to
And so the Bureau plays a key role in this area, in all
three of these areas, and we need your continued effort and
Let me close by saying that, as we get to the question
areas and those areas that I want to visit, Mr. Connor, that I
think this year is a pivot year. With the additional snow pack
and rainfall, we have made progress. $54 million was allocated
last year for projects. The Inner Tie project is under
construction. We have been able for two years to have a waiver
on transfers that have been very critical. The Delta, as Mr.
Garamendi has indicated, still needs support, but there are
numerous factors, I will contend, that have contributed to the
decline of the Delta, not simply the export of water south. And
the fact is that we are one state, every region of the state
does need and deserve a stable supply of water, and therein
lies the challenge.
So, I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for opening this hearing and
I look forward to engaging with Mr. Connor as he works on the
details of the California aspects. For the non-Californians,
again I apologize in advance, but these are issues that are
critical to our state's long-term survivability. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. Thank you. If there are no other opening
statements, we will move to the witnesses. We are pleased to be
joined by The Honorable Michael Connor, Commissioner of the
Bureau of Reclamation for the Department of the Interior, and
by Mr. William Werkheiser, Associate Director for Water for the
U.S. Geological Survey of the Department of the Interior.
Your written testimony, gentlemen, will appear in full in
the hearing record so I ask that you keep your oral statement
to five minutes as outlined in our invitation letter to you and
under Committee Rule 4[a]. I also want to explain how our
timing lights work.
When you begin to speak our clerk will start the timer. The
green light will appear. After four minutes the yellow light
will appear, and at that time you should begin to conclude your
statement. At five minutes the red light will come on. You may
complete your sentence, but at that time I would ask you to
draw to a conclusion.
Now I will recognize Commissioner Connor to testify for
five minutes, and all witness statements will be submitted for
the hearing record.
STATEMENT OF HON. MIKE L. CONNOR, COMMISSIONER, BUREAU OF
RECLAMATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Mr. Connor. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member
Napolitano, and Members of the Subcommittee for the opportunity
to discuss Reclamation's Fiscal Year 2012 budget. I am a New
Mexican. I feel like I am becoming a Californian, even though I
am a Westerner, I will talk very quickly here. Also,
congratulations, Mr. Chairman, in your new role with the
Subcommittee. With me today is Bob Wolf, our Director of
Program and Budget.
The Fiscal Year 2012 discretionary request for Reclamation
is $1 billion. I have submitted written testimony, which
presents a detailed summary of the request. Overall, the budget
reflects a comprehensive set of actions and initiatives that
support Reclamation's mission. The budget continues to
emphasize working smarter to address the water needs of a
growing population in an environmentally responsible and cost-
efficient manner and assisting states, tribes, and local
entities in solving contemporary water resource challenges.
Certainty and sustainability are primary goals with respect
to the use of water resources, and requires Reclamation to take
action on many fronts and our budget proposal was developed
with that principle in mind. The Fiscal Year 2012 budget
request for Reclamation focuses on six priorities. Very
briefly, I will use my remaining time to discuss each of those
Infrastructure. Overall, our budget continues to support
the need to maintain our infrastructure in safe operating
condition while addressing the myriad of challenges facing
western water users. Approximately 51 percent of our water and
related resources budget, $407 million, is dedicated to
operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation activity, with 49
percent allocated to resource management and development. These
activities under Operations, Maintenance and Rehabilitation
include the dam safety program at $84 million; our site
security program at $26 million; and RAX, which is a shorthand
for Replacements, Additions and Extraordinary Maintenance, $41
million in this budget.
WaterSMART. This is the second priority for Reclamation and
the WaterSMART Program combines with Interior's establishment
of a high priority performance goal, which is to enable the
capability to increase available water supplies for
agricultural, municipal, industrial, and environmental needs in
the western United States by 490,000 acre-feet by the end of
2012. That is the goal.
This goal in the program concentrates on expanding and
stretching limited water supplies in the West to reduce
conflict, facilitate solutions to complex water issues, and
meet the growing needs of expanding municipalities, the
environment and agriculture. Reclamation proposed to fund
WaterSMART at $59 million, $11 million below the 2011 levels
when compared with those programs that we included in last
year's WaterSMART request.
The three ongoing programs include the WaterSMART Grant
Program at $18.5 million, Basin Studies at $6 million and the
Title XVI Water Reclamation Reuse Program at $29 million. Two
other programs have been added this year. One is not a new
program, our Water Conservation Field Services Program at $5.1
million, and we have a new operative Watershed Management
Program that we look at having a demo project for in 2012 at
the tune of $250,000.
WaterSMART is a joint effort with the USGS, as will also be
described by Mr. Werkheiser.
Ecosystem restoration. In order to meet Reclamation's
mission goals of producing power and delivering water in a
sustainable manner, we must continue to focus on the protection
and restoration of the aquatic and riparian environments
affected by our operations. Ecosystem restoration involves a
large number of activities, including endangered species
recovery programs which are required in order to continue to
operate our projects, and which I directly address the
environmental aspects of Reclamation's mission.
The 2012 request provides for $155 million for operating,
managing, and improving California' Central Valley project. A
significant amount of CVP funding supports ecosystem
restoration, including $35 million for the Red Bluff Pumping
Plant and fish screen in the Sacramento River. We also have
$10.5 million for the Trinity River Restoration Program, with
an additional $3 million available through the CVP restoration
fund. Trinity program activity includes development of a
comprehensive monitoring and adaptive management program for
fishery restoration and construction of channel rehabilitation
projects at very sites along the Trinity River.
Ecosystem restoration includes $26 million for the Lower
Colorado River operations to fulfill the Secretary's role as
water master and also implement the multi-species conservation
program. $18.3 million is requested for that program. The
budget also requests $20 million for other Endangered Species
Act programs, including $11 million to implement the Platt
River Endangered Species Recovery Implementation Program, $6.2
million for the Upper Colorado and San Juan Endangered Fish
Recovery Programs, and additionally we have an $18 million
request for the Columbia Snake River recovery programs. Those
funds will be used to implement the biological opinion
governing our operations on the Snake River and the Columbia
We also have funding provided in the Klamath project line
item, with the Middle Rio Grande project line item, all to
address environmental and ecosystem restoration needs without
I see my time is rapidly running out. The other priority
areas which I will quickly summarize are cooperative landscape
conservation and renewable energy. We have a youth employment
initiative, which we are carrying out through our normal
programs, and supporting tribal nations is a high priority for
Secretary Salazar as it is for the Bureau of Reclamation.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for allowing me to testify on our
budget request for 2012, and I stand ready to answers questions
at the appropriate time.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Connor follows:]
Statement of Michael L. Connor, Commissioner,
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of the Interior
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Napolitano and members of
the subcommittee, for the opportunity to discuss with you the
President's Fiscal Year 2012 budget request for the Bureau of
Reclamation. With me today is Bob Wolf, Director of Program and Budget.
I appreciate the time and consideration this subcommittee gives to
reviewing and understanding Reclamation's budget and its support for
the program. Reclamation works hard to prioritize and define our
program in a manner that serves the best interest of the public.
Our FY 2012 request continues support for activities that, both now
and in the future, will deliver water and generate hydropower,
consistent with applicable State and Federal law, in an environmentally
responsible and cost-effective manner. Overall, our goal is to promote
certainty, sustainability, and resiliency for those who use and rely on
water resources in the West. Success in this approach will help ensure
that Reclamation is doing its part to support the basic needs of
communities, as well as providing for economic growth in the
agricultural, industrial, and recreational sectors of the economy. In
keeping with the President's pledge to freeze spending and focus on
deficit reduction, this budget reflects reductions and savings where
possible. Although the 2012 budget request allows Reclamation to
fulfill its core mission, essential functions have been trimmed and
economized wherever possible.
The budget continues to emphasize working smarter to address the
water needs of a growing population and assisting States, Tribes, and
local entities in solving contemporary water resource challenges. It
also emphasizes the operation and maintenance of Reclamation facilities
in a safe, efficient, economic, and reliable manner; assuring systems
and safety measures are in place to protect the public and Reclamation
facilities. Funding for each program area down to the individual
projects within Reclamation's request is based upon adherence to
Administration, Departmental, and Reclamation priorities. Reclamation
is responsible for the oversight, operation, and maintenance of major
federal infrastructure that is valued at $87.7 billion in current
dollars. Key areas of focus for FY 2012 include Water Conservation,
Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and Renewable Energy, Ecosystem
Restoration, Youth Employment, supporting Tribal Nations and
maintaining infrastructure. Recognizing the budget challenges facing
the Federal Government as a whole, Reclamation will continue its
efforts to partner with other Federal agencies such as the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers (USACE), Department of Energy (DOE), and the Natural
Resources Conservation Service, to maximize the efficiency by which we
implement our programs.
Reclamation's 2012 budget request is $1.0 billion, which includes
$53.1 million for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund (CVPRF).
This request is offset by discretionary receipts in the CVPRF,
estimated to be $52.8 million. The request for permanent appropriations
in 2012 totals $194.5 million. Overall, Reclamation's 2012 budget is a
responsible one and consistent with the Administration's goal of fiscal
sustainability. Reclamation will still be making strategic investments
that provide a strong foundation to meet water resources challenges
across the West.
Water and Related Resources
The 2012 budget request for Water and Related Resources,
Reclamation's principal operating account, is $805.2 million, a
decrease of $108.4 million from the 2011 request.
The request includes a total of $398.5 million for water and
energy, land, and fish and wildlife resource management and development
activities. Funding in these activities provides for planning,
construction, water conservation activities, management of Reclamation
lands including recreation, and actions to address the impacts of
Reclamation projects on fish and wildlife.
The request also provides a total of $406.7 million for water and
power facility operations, maintenance, and rehabilitation activities.
Reclamation emphasizes safe, efficient, economic and reliable operation
of facilities, ensuring systems and safety measures are in place to
protect the facilities and the public. Providing the funding needed to
achieve these objectives continues to be one of Reclamation's highest
Highlights of the FY 2012 Request for Water and Related Resources
I would like to share with the Committee several highlights of the
Reclamation budget including an update on the WaterSMART (Sustain and
Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow) Program and Interior's
establishment of a Priority Goal target to enable capability to
increase available water supply for agricultural, municipal, industrial
and environmental uses in the western United States by 490,000 acre-
feet by the end of 2012.
WaterSMART Program -- The request focuses resources on the
Department of the Interior's WaterSMART program. The program
concentrates on expanding and stretching limited water supplies in the
West to reduce conflict, facilitate solutions to complex water issues,
and to meet the growing needs of expanding municipalities, the
environment, and agriculture.
Reclamation proposes to fund WaterSMART at $58.9 million, $11.0
million below 2011 levels when considering only the programs included
that year. The three ongoing WaterSMART programs include: the
WaterSMART Grant program funded at $18.5 million; Basin Studies funded
at $6.0 million; and the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse program
funded at $29.0 million. Two programs are being added to WaterSMART in
2012, the continuing Water Conservation Field Services program, funded
at $5.1 million, and participation by Reclamation in the Cooperative
Watershed Management program, funded at $250,000. This is a joint
effort with the USGS. The USGS will use $10.9 million, an increase of
$9.0 million, for a multi-year, nationwide water availability and use
assessment program. Other significant programs and highlights include:
Ecosystem Restoration-- In order to meet Reclamation's mission
goals of securing America's energy resources and managing water in a
sustainable manner for the 21st century, a part of its programs must
focus on the protection and restoration of the aquatic and riparian
environments affected by its operations. Ecosystem restoration involves
a large number of activities, including Reclamation's Endangered
Species Act recovery programs, which are required in order to continue
project operations and directly address the environmental aspects of
the Reclamation mission.
The 2012 request provides $154.6 million for operating, managing
and improving California's Central Valley Project (CVP). This amount
supports Ecosystem Restoration including $34.8 million for the Red
Bluff Pumping Plant and Fish Screen within the CVP, Sacramento River
Division, which will be constructed to facilitate passage for
threatened fish species, as well as providing water deliveries. The
funding for the CVP also includes $10.5 million for the Trinity River
Restoration program and $3.0 million from the CVP Restoration Fund
which includes development of a comprehensive monitoring and adaptive
management program for fishery restoration and construction of channel
rehabilitation projects at various sites along the Trinity River.
The request includes $26.0 million for Lower Colorado River
Operations to fulfill the role of the Secretary as water master for the
Lower Colorado River and implementation of the Lower Colorado River
Multi-Species Conservation (MSCP) program which provides long-term
Endangered Species Act compliance for the operations. Of this amount,
$18.3 million for the MSCP program will provide quality habitat to
conserve populations of 26 species.
The budget requests $20.0 million for other Endangered Species Act
Recovery Implementation programs, including $11.0 million in the Great
Plains Region to implement the Platte River Endangered Species Recovery
Implementation program. It also includes $6.2 million for the Upper
Colorado and San Juan River Endangered Fish Recovery programs. This
funding will continue construction of a system that automates canal
operations to conserve water by matching river diversions with actual
consumptive use demands and redirecting the conserved water to improve
instream flows. Additionally, the Columbia/Snake River Salmon Recovery
program funding of $17.8 million will be used for implementation of
required Biological Opinion actions including extensive hydro actions,
plus tributary habitat and hatchery initiatives.
The 2012 budget includes $18.6 million for the Klamath project,
which supports studies and initiatives to improve water supplies to
meet the competing demands of agricultural, tribal, wildlife refuge,
and environmental needs in the Klamath River Basin.
No funding is requested for the Klamath Dam Removal and
Sedimentation Studies. These studies are being completed with funds
previously appropriated and will be used to inform a Secretarial
Determination in 2012 as to whether removing PacifiCorp's four dams on
the Lower Klamath River is in the public interest and advances
restoration of the Klamath River fisheries. The studies and Secretarial
Determination are being carried out pursuant to an agreement with
PacifiCorp and the states of California and Oregon.
The 2012 budget includes $23.6 million for the Middle Rio Grande
project. Funds support the acquisition of supplemental non-federal
water for Endangered Species Act efforts and low flow conveyance
channel pumping into the Rio Grande during the irrigation season.
Further, funding is used for recurring life cycle river maintenance
necessary to ensure uninterrupted, efficient water delivery to Elephant
Butte Reservoir, reduced risk of flooding, as well as delivery
obligations to Mexico.
The Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project request is $8.9
million, which will continue funding grants to the Benton and Roza
Irrigation Districts and Sunnyside Division Board of Control, to
implement conservation measures and monitor the effects of those
measures on the river diversions.
Cooperative Landscape Conservation and Renewable Energy--
Reclamation is actively engaged in developing and implementing
approaches to understand, and effectively adapt to, the risks and
impacts of climate change on western water management. The Basin
Studies Program is part of Interior's integrated strategy to respond to
climate change impacts on the resources managed by the Department, and
is a key component of the WaterSMART Program. In 2012, the Basin
Studies Program will continue West-wide risk assessments focusing on
the threats to water supplies from climate change and other factors and
will be coordinated through the Department's Landscape Conservation
Cooperatives (LCCs). Reclamation will take the lead responsibility for
establishing and coordinating work at the Desert and Southern Rockies
LCCs. Included within Reclamation's Science and Technology program is
water resources research targeting improved capability for managing
water resources under multiple drivers affecting water availability,
including climate change. This research agenda will be collaborated and
leveraged with capabilities of the Interior Climate Science Centers.
Reclamation is also working in partnership with DOE and COE in
identifying opportunities to address the President's clean energy goals
through the development of new sustainable hydropower capacity as well
as integrating renewable energy in our operations. The partnership with
DOE and its Power Marketing Administrations will also assess climate
change impacts on hydropower generation.
Supporting Tribal Nations - Reclamation has a long-standing
commitment to realizing the Secretary's goal to strengthen tribal
nations. FY 2012 continues support through a number of Reclamation
projects ranging from endangered species restoration to rural water and
implementation of water rights settlement actions.
The request includes $12.8 million for the Animas-La Plata project
to continue constructing components of the Navajo Nation Municipal
Pipeline and filling Lake Nighthorse as the project nears completion.
The 2012 Reclamation budget requests $35.5 million for on-going
authorized rural water projects. The projects that benefit tribal
nations include Mni Wiconi, the rural water component of the Garrison
Diversion Unit, Fort Peck Reservation/Dry Prairie, Jicarilla Apache
Reservation, and Rocky Boys/North Central Montana. One other rural
water project that does not directly affect Tribes is the Lewis and
Clark Project. Funding for the Perkins County Project is complete. The
first priority for funding rural water projects is the required O&M
component, which is $15.3 million for FY 2012. For the construction
component, Reclamation allocated funding based on objective criteria
that gave priority to projects nearest to completion and projects that
serve on-reservation needs.
The request includes $7.0 million for the Native American Affairs
program to provide technical support for Indian water rights
settlements and to assist tribal governments to develop, manage and
protect their water and related resources. The Columbia/Snake River
Salmon Recovery, Klamath, Central Valley Project Trinity River
Restoration, Yakima and Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Projects
mentioned above under Ecosystem Restoration benefit tribal nations.
Also, the newly established Indian Water Rights Settlement Account
discussed below supports tribal nations.
Youth Employment - To meet the Secretary's challenge to achieve the
Priority Goal for youth employment, Reclamation is working hard to
engage, educate and employ our nation's youth in order to help develop
the future stewards of our lands. Secretary Salazar challenged the
Interior Bureaus to increase employment of youth between the ages of 15
and 25 in natural and cultural resource positions. Last year,
Reclamation began working with youth conservation corps to hire youth
and expose them to the great work that it does. We continue to use all
hiring authorities available to bring young people in through
internships, crew work, and full time positions.
Aging Infrastructure - Through Reclamation's continued emphasis on
preventive maintenance and regular condition assessments (field
inspections and reviews), the service life of many Reclamation assets
and facilities have been extended, thereby delaying the need for
significant replacements and rehabilitation efforts, including the
related funding needs. Although Reclamation and its project
beneficiaries have benefited greatly from this preventive maintenance,
we recognize that as assets and facilities age, they require an
increased amount of maintenance. Sometimes this requires more frequent
preventive maintenance, and, in other situations, significant
extraordinary maintenance, rehabilitations, or replacements may be
It is important to note that much of the operation and maintenance
(O&M) funding responsibilities of Reclamation's assets lies with our
project beneficiaries and those operating entities that operate and
maintain federally owned transferred works. For some operating entities
and project beneficiaries, rehabilitation and replacement needs may
exceed available resources. In particular, many smaller irrigation or
water conservancy districts are unable to fund these needs in the year
incurred absent long-term financing assistance. To address this issue,
the Administration is currently exploring strategies for helping these
entities to rehabilitate these facilities. We are also exploring
potential utilization of the authority provided under P.L. 111-11 that
would allow extended repayment of extraordinary (non-routine)
maintenance costs on project facilities. Water users are currently
required by Federal reclamation law to pay these costs, which are often
substantial, in advance.
Reclamation's FY 2012 proposed budget is $40.8 million in
appropriations for various projects for Replacements, Additions, and
Extraordinary Maintenance (RAX) activities where Reclamation is
directly responsible for daily O&M. This request is central to mission
objectives of operating and maintaining projects to ensure delivery of
water and power benefits. Reclamation's RAX request is part of its
overall Asset Management Strategy that relies on condition assessments,
condition/performance metrics, technological research and deployment,
and strategic collaboration to continue to improve the management of
its assets and deal with its aging infrastructure challenges. This
amount represents only the FY 2012 request for discretionary
appropriations. Additional RAX items are directly funded by revenues,
customers, or other federal agencies.
The Bonneville Power Administration will continue to provide up-
front financing of power operation and maintenance and for major
replacements and additions for the power plants at the Boise, Columbia
Basin, Hungry Horse, Minidoka, Rogue River, and Yakima projects. In the
Great Plains (GP) Region, Reclamation, Western Area Power
Administration, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have entered into
an agreement which enables the customers to voluntarily direct fund
power RAX items. A long-term funding agreement with the customers for
the Parker-Davis Project on the Colorado River was executed in FY 1999.
FY 2012 costs of operation, maintenance and replacement for this
project will be 100 percent up-front funded by the customers. To date,
the Central Valley Project power O&M program is funded 100 percent by
the customers, in addition to funding selected RAX items. Reclamation
will continue to explore ways to reduce the Federal cost of its
projects and programs.
A total of $83.7 million is requested for Reclamation's Safety of
Dams program, which includes $63.6 million directed to dam safety
corrective actions; of that, $27.5 million is for work at Folsom Dam.
Funding also includes $18.5 million for safety evaluations of existing
dams and $1.6 million to oversee the Interior Department's Safety of
Reclamation's request for Site Security is $25.9 million to ensure
the safety and security of the public, Reclamation's employees, and key
facilities. This funding includes $6.9 million for physical security
upgrades at high risk critical assets and $19.1 million to continue all
aspects of bureauwide security efforts including law enforcement, risk
and threat analysis, personnel security, information security, risk
assessments and security-related studies, and guards and patrols.
Reclamation continues efforts to reach agreements with non-Federal
and Federal partners to share in the cost of water resource management
and development. Cost-sharing of 50 percent for construction and
rehabilitation of recreation facilities at various Reclamation
reservoirs will continue. Additionally, Reclamation's current planning
program seeks 50 percent cost-sharing on most studies. This reflects
Reclamation's emphasis on partnerships for water management
Indian Water Rights Settlements
On December 8, 2010 the President signed the Claims Resolution Act
of 2010 that included four water settlements. These settlements resolve
longstanding and disruptive water disputes, provide for the
quantification and protection of tribal rights, and will deliver clean
water to the Pueblos of Taos, Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, and
Tesuque in New Mexico, the Crow Tribe of Montana, and the White
Mountain Apache Tribe of Arizona. In order to accomplish this, the Act
provides various mechanisms and funding structures designed for both
construction and for the tribes to use to manage water systems
following construction. The primary responsibility for developing water
infrastructure under these settlements was given to Reclamation.
Mandatory funding was provided to both BIA and Reclamation in 2011 for
a portion of the funds established under the Act. We anticipate that
Reclamation will begin expending some of this mandatory funding to work
with all parties to begin implementing these settlements.
The four Indian water rights settlements will provide water
supplies and offer economic security for the tribes and pueblos
described above. The agreements will build and improve reservation
water systems, rehabilitate irrigation projects, construct a regional
multi-pueblo water system, and codify water-sharing arrangements
between Indian and neighboring communities. Construction will take
place over time and annual funding requirements will vary from year to
year. Notwithstanding the availability of some level of mandatory
funding, discretionary appropriations will still be necessary.
Reclamation is requesting $26.7 million in 2012 for the initial
implementation of these four settlements.
Reclamation is establishing the Indian Water Rights Settlements
account to assure continuity in the construction of the authorized
projects and to highlight and enhance transparency in handling these
funds. In establishing this account, Reclamation will also request
$24.8 million for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply project (Title X of
Public Law 111-11) in order to have major current funding for
Reclamation's Indian Water Rights Settlements treated in the Claims
Resolution Act in a single account.
The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project will provide reliable and
sustainable municipal, industrial, and domestic water supplies from the
San Juan River to the Navajo Nation including the Window Rock, AZ area;
the city of Gallup, NM; the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry; and
the southwest portion of the Jicarilla Apache Nation Reservation.
The total request for Reclamation for Indian Water Rights
Settlements in 2012 is $51.5 million in discretionary funding and $60.0
million in permanent funds.
Policy and Administration
The 2012 budget request for the Policy and Administration
appropriation account, the account that finances Reclamation's central
management functions, is $60.0 million or 6% of the total request, a
reduction of $1.2 million from the 2011 request. This reduction
reflects the impact of the pay freeze and the Administrative Cost
Savings discussed below.
Administrative Cost Savings and Management Efficiencies
The 2012 budget request includes reductions that reflect the
Accountable Government Initiative to curb non-essential administrative
spending in support of the President's commitment on fiscal discipline
and spending restraint. In accordance with this initiative,
Reclamation's budget includes $5.8 million in savings in 2012 against
actual 2010 expenditures in the following activities: travel and
transportation of persons, transportation of things, printing and
reproduction, and supplies and materials. Actions to address the
Accountable Government Initiative and reduce these expenses build upon
management efficiency efforts proposed in 2011 totaling $3.9 million in
travel and relocation, Information Technology, and strategic sourcing
and bureau-specific efficiencies totaling $1.3 million.
Central Valley Project Restoration Fund
The 2012 budget includes a request of $53.1 million for the CVPRF.
This budget request is offset by collections estimated at $52.8 million
from mitigation and restoration charges authorized by the Central
Valley Project Improvement Act. The request considers the effects of
the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act (P.L. 111-11, March
30, 2009) which (beginning in 2010) redirects certain fees, estimated
at $5.6 million in FY 2012, collected from the Friant Division water
users to the San Joaquin River Restoration Fund.
San Joaquin River Restoration Fund
The 2012 budget also reflects the settlement of Natural Resources
Defense Council v. Rodgers. Reclamation proposes $9.0 million in
discretionary funds into this account, which was established by the San
Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act. Under the Settlement, the
legislation also provides for approximately $2 million in annual
appropriations for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund for this
purpose, as well as mandatory funds. The Fund seeks to provide a
variety of physical improvements within and near the San Joaquin River
within the service area of the Friant Division long term contractors to
achieve the restoration and water management goals. These funds are
important fopr Reclamation to meet various terms of the settlement that
brought water contractors, fishery advocates, and other stakeholders
together to bring to an end 18 years of contentious litigation.
California Bay-Delta Restoration Fund
The 2012 budget requests $39.7 million for CALFED, pursuant to the
CALFED Bay-Delta Authorization Act. The request focuses on the Bay-
Delta Conservation Plan and interagency science efforts to address
short- and long-term water resource issues. Other activities include
funds for water use efficiency, water quality, storage, ecosystem
restoration, and planning and management activities. The CALFED Bay-
Delta Program was established in May 1995 to develop a comprehensive
long-term plan to address the complex and interrelated problems in the
Delta region, tributary watersheds, and delivery areas. The Program's
focus is on conserving and restoring the health of the ecosystem and
improving water management, including Federal participation in the Bay
Delta conservation Plan
FY 2012 Planned Activities
Reclamation's FY 2012 goals are directly related to fulfilling
contractual requests to deliver water and power. Our goals also address
a range of other water supply needs in the West, playing a significant
role in restoring and protecting freshwater ecosystems consistent with
applicable State and Federal law, enhancing management of our water
infrastructure while mitigating for any harmful environmental effects,
and understanding and responding to the changing nature of the West's
limited water resources. It should be emphasized that in order to meet
Reclamation's mission goals of securing America's energy resources and
managing water in a sustainable manner for the 21st century, a part of
the Bureau's programs must focus on the protection and restoration of
By the end of FY 2012, Reclamation will enable capability to
increase available water supply for agricultural, municipal,
industrial, and environmental uses in the western United States by
490,000 acre feet through its conservation-related programs, such as
water reuse and recycling (Title XVI), and WaterSMART grants.
Reclamation will maintain dams and associated facilities in good
condition to ensure the reliable delivery of water. It will maximize
the percent of time that its hydroelectric generating units are
available to the inter-connected Western electrical system during daily
peak demand periods.
Moreover, the FY 2012 budget request demonstrates Reclamation's
commitment to meeting the water and power needs of the West in a
fiscally responsible manner. This budget continues Reclamation's
emphasis on managing those valuable public resources. Reclamation is
committed to working with its customers, States, Tribes, and other
stakeholders to find ways to balance and provide for the mix of water
resource needs in 2012 and beyond.
Mr. Chairman, please allow me to express my sincere appreciation
for the continued support that this Subcommittee has provided
Reclamation. This completes my statement. I would be happy to answer
any questions that you may have at this time.
Mr. McClintock. Thank you very much, Commissioner. Now I
will recognize Mr. Werkheiser to testify for five minutes.
STATEMENT OF MR. WILLIAM WERKHEISER, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR
WATER, U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Mr. Werkheiser. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, and Members of
the Subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear
before you today to discuss the Administration's 2012 budget
request for the U.S. Geological Survey.
The request for the USGS is $1.1 billion, an increase of
$6.1 million from the 2010 enacted level. The request for water
resources totals $199.6 million. This represents a reduction of
$21.6 million from the 2010 enacted level. Natural resource
managers, natural hazard responders, industry, and the public
continue to rely on the important science data and information
that the USGS produces as part of its core mission to provide
the scientific basis that contributes to the wise management of
the nation's natural resources and promotes the health, safety,
and well-being of its people.
In the last year, USGS science has been at the forefront in
responding to many natural resource and natural hazards
challenges. For example, the USGS recently made available
instant customized updates about the water conditions through
its ``WaterAlert'' system. This service allows users to receive
updates about river flows, groundwater levels, water
temperatures, rainfall, and water quality at more than 9,500
Real-time water data are essential to those making daily
decisions about water-related activities whether for resource
management business operations, flood response or recreation.
WaterAlert furthers USGS's efforts to make data immediately
available and relevant to every user. The 2012 budget provides
$10.9 million for USGS activities in the WaterSMART initiative.
This is $9 million above the 2010 enacted level.
Under this initiative, USGS will conduct comprehensive
water supply and demand inventories to provide the baseline
information needed by public and private water managers to work
toward sustainable water supplies. This effort will include
estimating freshwater resources across the nation, assessing
water use and distribution for human and environmental and
wildlife needs, and evaluating factors affecting water
availability, including energy development, changes in
agricultural practices, increase in population, and competing
proprieties for limited water resources.
To address the President's priority on fiscal
responsibility, the USGS 2012 budget makes vital investments in
research and development and ecosystems restoration while also
proposing to make difficult reductions within a number of
programs. Those programs include: regional assessments of
groundwater quantity and quality; toxic substance research; the
Water Resources Research Act Program; and the National Water
Quality Assessment Program. In addition, it increases our
proposed two-year, Interior-wide management efficiencies and
administrative savings and travel, contracts, supplies, and
These changes reflect tough and difficulty choices and we
are repositioning core responsibilities to better address the
complex societal issues within a reduced funding level.
The USGS 2012 budget request includes establishment of a
separate treasury account for Landsat missions along with an
increase of $48 million to develop Landsats 9 and 10. Landsat
furthers Interior's important role in land remote sensing under
the President's National Space Policy, and provides invaluable
data for land use and climate change research. Landsat has
become vital to the nation's agricultural water management,
disaster response in scientific communities.
The 2012 budget reflects our ability to address a broad
array of natural resource and natural science issues facing the
nation. The challenges ahead are great, but the USGS is
committed to placing our science data and information into the
hands of decisionmakers across the landscape when they need it
and in formats that they can really use.
The 2012 budget request aims to ensure our scientific
expertise is applied effectively, efficiently, and
strategically to meet the nation's most pressing needs today
and to preserve our wealth of biologic, geologic, geographic
and hydrologic monitoring capabilities to meet the needs of
The USGS will continue its legacy of providing the data,
long-term scientific understanding, and scientific tools needed
to sustain and improve the economic and environmental health of
people in communities across the Nation and around the world.
This concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman. I will be happy
to answer the questions that you and other Members have. I
appreciate this opportunity to testify before you and the
Subcommittee and look forward to our continued collaboration.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Werkheiser follows:]
Statement of William Werkheiser, Associate Director, Water,
U.S. Geological Survey, U.S.. Department of the Interior
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee. Thank
you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the
Administration's 2012 budget request for the U.S. Geological Survey
Much about the USGS has changed in the year since we last sat
together in this room to discuss funding for the important work the
USGS does for the Nation. The USGS has realigned its management
structure, moving from an organizational structure of single and
separated disciplines to form interdisciplinary mission areas as
outlined in the USGS Science Strategy: ``Facing Tomorrow's Challenges--
U.S. Geological Survey Science in the Decade 2007-2017'' (U.S.
Geological Survey, 2007). I appreciate the Subcommittee's support for
the realignment. The 2012 USGS budget request formally aligns the USGS
budget structure with the new mission area management structure. We are
already seeing evidence that bringing expertise from several Earth
science disciplines together through these mission areas to address
issues of concern allows the USGS to better respond to customer and
partner needs to provide the best value to the taxpayers.
While much has changed at USGS, some things have not. Natural
resources managers, natural hazards responders, industry, and the
public continue to rely on the important science, data, and information
the USGS produces as part of its core mission to provide the scientific
basis that contributes to the wise management of the Nation's natural
resources and that promotes the health, safety, and well-being of
people. Given the rapid pace required for management and policy
decisions in comparison to the more deliberative time scale for
authoritative, peer reviewed science, the USGS must always anticipate
the Nation's needs and maintain a broad portfolio of research and
researchers across the country. The last year has provided numerous
examples of how USGS science is providing relevant and timely
scientific results to address some of the most pressing natural
resources challenges of our time.
In the last year, USGS science has been at the forefront in
responding to many natural resource challenges. The USGS recently
released the first ever detailed inventory of rare earth elements
describing known deposits for the entire Nation. These elements are
essential components for many current and emerging alternative energy
technologies, such as electric vehicles, photo-voltaic cells, energy-
efficient lighting, and wind power. The assessment will be very
important both to policy-makers and to industry, and it reinforces the
value of our efforts to maintain accurate, independent information on
our Nation's natural resources as only the USGS can do.
USGS hazards science made great strides as well. In the aftermath
of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake, USGS scientists used geological
field observations and interpretations of satellite imagery, aerial
photography, and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to discover the
main strand of the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault thought to be
responsible for the January quake had not ruptured and the hazard
associated with the fault still remains high. Information of this
nature is critical as Haiti continues its struggle to recover from the
impacts of the devastating earthquake and make important decisions on
rebuilding its capital city.
The USGS continues its efforts to put science, data, and
information into the hands of those who need it for decision making. In
recent months, the USGS announced that estimated economic loss and
casualty information will now be included in USGS earthquake alerts
following significant earthquakes around the world. These earthquake
alerts are widely recognized and used by emergency responders,
government and aid officials, and the public to understand the scope of
the potential disaster and to develop the best response. The USGS
automated system, PAGER (Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for
Response), within minutes provides preliminary estimates of earthquake
impacts, including the range of possible fatalities and economic
losses, by assessing the shaking distribution, the number of people and
settlements exposed to severe shaking and other factors. This
information is critical in determining the human and economic toll so
that emergency responders can act promptly and effectively.
The USGS recently made available instant, customized updates about
water conditions through its ``WaterAlert'' system. This system allows
users to receive updates about river flows, groundwater levels, water
temperatures, rainfall and water quality at more than 9,500 sites where
the USGS collects real-time water information. This information is
crucial for managing water resources, including during floods, droughts
and chemical spills. Real-time water data are essential to those making
daily decisions about water-related activities, whether for resource
management, business operations, flood response or recreation.
WaterAlert furthers USGS efforts to make data immediately available and
relevant to every user.
USGS long-term monitoring and robust ecosystem studies continue to
pay dividends as our Nation seeks to discover whether investments in
ecosystem restoration are working. One example is a recent study that
determined the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., is showing multiple
benefits from restoration efforts. According to direct measurements
taken during the 18-year field study, reduced nutrients and improved
water clarity have increased the abundance and diversity of submerged
aquatic vegetation in the Potomac. The public deserves to know whether
its investments are having tangible results. This study and others like
it provide that information.
It is the hard-working scientific and professional staff at the
USGS, powered by this Subcommittee's long-term investment in and
commitment to science, that makes these advancements possible. The
success of USGS efforts, such as those highlighted here, makes it all
the more challenging to make tough decisions regarding the allocation
of scarce fiscal resources.
To address the President's priority on fiscal responsibility, the
USGS 2012 budget makes vital investments in research and development
and ecosystem restoration, while also proposing reductions within
programs such as regional assessments of groundwater quantity and
quality; toxic substances research; mineral resource assessments;
research and grants that address the Nation's resilience to natural
hazards; the Water Resources Research Act program; the National
Biological Information Infrastructure; the National Water Quality
Assessment Program; the National Geological and Geophysical Data
Preservation program; the National Cooperative Geological Mapping
program; research to establish the limits of the extended Outer
Continental Shelf; and the climate effects network. These changes
reflect tough choices, not just the reduction of low-performing or
unnecessary programs. We are repositioning core responsibilities to
better address complex multidisciplinary issues within a reduced
The 2012 budget request for the USGS is $1.1 billion, an increase
of $6.1 million from the 2010 enacted level. In 2012, the USGS is
proposing to establish a new appropriations account, National Land
Imaging (NLI), which comprises a base transfer from the Surveys,
Investigations and Research (SIR) account of $53.5 million coupled with
an increase of $48.0 million to begin work on Landsats 9 and 10.
Excluding the NLI account, the SIR account is $53.6 million below the
2010 enacted level. Decreases are proposed in scientific programs as
well as for Interior-wide management efficiencies and administrative
savings in travel, contracts, supplies, and information technology.
The USGS 2012 budget request includes establishment of a separate
account for Landsat missions along with an increase of $48.0 million to
begin developing an operational Landsat program, starting with Landsats
9 and 10. Landsat furthers Interior's important role in land remote
sensing under the President's National Space Policy and provides
invaluable data for land use and climate change research. The new
account will include funding for current satellites (Landsats 5 and 7),
the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (Landsat 8), which is scheduled to
launch in December 2012, and the development of Landsats 9 and 10,
through a continuous Landsat program that will ensure data continuity
in the future. Landsat has become vital to the Nation's agricultural,
water management, disaster response, and scientific communities.
Establishment of this account and the increase in funding will provide
the stable budgetary foundation needed for a continuous capability. A
permanent budgetary and managerial structure will ensure the continued
collection and maintenance of the important data the Landsat satellite
The budget request also proposes an additional $12.0 million for
the restoration of some of the Nation's most iconic ecosystems. These
efforts support America's Great Outdoors, the President's signature
conservation initiative to protect and restore the health, heritage,
natural resources and social and economic value of some of the Nation's
most significant ecosystems. The USGS plays a vital role in the
development and implementation of the America's Great Outdoors
initiative, working in collaboration with other Interior bureaus and
Federal agencies. Particular focus is given to important and iconic
ecosystems, with targeted increases for Chesapeake Bay (+$4.6 million),
Columbia River (+$1.4 million), Upper Mississippi River (+$1.0 million)
and Puget Sound (+$1.5 million). The budget includes $3.5 million for
the Great Lakes, including support for USGS' role in the Asian Carp
Control Framework, to detect and understand this invasive fish and
develop chemical control tools.
Funding to complete the network of Interior Climate Science
Centers, as called for in Secretarial Order 3289, is also included at
$11.0 million above the 2010 enacted level. The planned network of
eight Interior Climate Science Centers will provide fundamental
research and tools to the network of landscape conservation
cooperatives and to natural and cultural resource managers. The Centers
focus on understanding landscape stressors related to climate change
and designing adaptation strategies at a regional level. In 2010, CSCs
were established in the Northwest, Southeast and Alaska Regions. At the
proposed funding level, the remaining CSCs will be established in the
Northeast, South Central, North Central, Southwest and Pacific Islands
To continue investment in science to support Interior's substantial
coastal and ocean resource management responsibilities and its critical
role in implementing the Administration's National Ocean Policy, the
budget request includes an additional $4.5 million for coastal and
marine spatial planning. The USGS will continue leading the development
of a national information management system for coastal, ocean and
Great Lakes resources. This involves conducting a number of efforts
important in managing resources with other Federal, State, tribal, and
regional partners. Efforts include constructing a prototype Coastal and
Marine Spatial Planning Internet portal for the Gulf of Mexico;
developing modeling tools to forecast coastal vulnerability to
projected sea level rise and predicted coastal storms; and establishing
data standards and undertaking gap analysis to target future priority
data collection activities.
Budget Summary by Budget Activity
The 2012 budget includes a total of $166.4 million for the
Ecosystems mission area. The request includes increases to the
Terrestrial, Freshwater, and Marine Environments and Invasive species
programs to support the President's signature conservation initiative,
America's Great Outdoors.
The Climate and Land Use Change budget activity request totals
$106.4 million and includes new funding for completion of the Interior
Climate Science Centers and funding for new efforts associated with
carbon sequestration in the California Bay-Delta.
The 2012 total request for Energy, Minerals, and Environmental
Health is $88.5 million, which reflects a $13.0 million reduction from
the 2010 enacted level.
The total requested funding level for Natural Hazards in 2012 is
$133.9 million or $5.1 million below the 2010 enacted level.
In 2012, the request level for Water Resources totals $199.6
million. This represents a reduction of $21.6 million from the 2010
The 2012 total budget request for Core Science Systems is $105.9
million, a reduction of $19.0 million below the 2010 enacted level.
The total funding level for Administration and Enterprise
Information is requested at $116.5 million and reflects a net program
increase of $1.4 million.
The 2012 total budget request for Facilities is $100.8 million; a
reduction of $5.6 million below the 2010 enacted level.
The USGS 2012 budget request addresses issues long important to the
Administration and Interior, and aligns the USGS budget structure with
its management structure. This budget reflects our ability to address a
broad array of natural-resource and natural-science issues facing the
Nation. It also reflects tough choices and difficult decisions. The
challenges ahead are great, but the USGS is committed to placing our
science, data, and information into the hands of decision makers across
the landscape when they need it and in formats they can readily use.
The 2012 budget request aims to ensure our multidisciplinary science
expertise is applied effectively, efficiently, and strategically to
meet the Nation's most pressing needs today and to preserve our wealth
of biologic, geologic, geographic, and hydrologic monitoring
capabilities to meet the needs of tomorrow. The USGS will continue its
legacy of providing the data, long-term scientific understanding, and
scientific tools needed to sustain and improve the economic and
environmental health and prosperity of people and communities across
the Nation and around the world.
This concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman. I will be happy to
answer the questions you and other Members have. I appreciate this
opportunity to testify before you and this Subcommittee and look
forward to our continued collaboration.
Mr. McClintock. Thank you very much for appearing today. At
this point we will begin questions of the witnesses. To allow
our Members to participate and to be sure that we can hear from
all of our witnesses today, Members will be limited to five
minutes for their questions. However, if Members have
additional questions we can have more than one round of
questioning, or Members can submit their statements for the
hearing record. After the Ranking Member and I pose our
questions, we will then recognize Members alternately in the
same order as of the beginning of each panel question so those
who were here when the questioning begins in order of
seniority, followed by those who arrive after the questioning
So, I will begin with my questions of Commissioner Connor.
Commissioner, what is the Bureau's estimate of total additional
water and hydroelectric resources that will be needed over the
next 20 years to support the growing population, and
agricultural and industry needs?
Mr. Connor. I don't know that we have done a West-wide
assessment of projecting out in the future given population
growth and changes in the economy structures and changes
between municipal and industrial needs and agricultural needs,
what those long-term----
Mr. McClintock. Our responsibility is to meet those needs.
Wouldn't that be a handy thing to have as an idea over the next
20 years of what those needs are?
Mr. Connor. Well, our goal at Reclamation is to operate our
projects in as efficient a manner as possible to carry out that
mission as well as looking forward and addressing the
challenges that are before us. We are doing that in conjunction
with a lot of other agencies, including USGS, or doing a water
census and looking to project how these are changing over time,
and what those ongoing needs will entail. So I envision as part
of WaterSMART we will start to get some of the answers to some
of those questions.
Mr. McClintock. I think it would be helpful to get as
comprehensive answer to that question as we can so we know
where we have to be within 20 years, and without knowing that
we don't have much of an idea of how to get there.
Mr. Connor. I absolutely agree.
Mr. McClintock. What is the Bureau's inventory of
additional water and hydroelectric resources that can be
Mr. Connor. With respect to hydropower resources, we are
engaged in an ongoing review of our facilities and looking for
opportunities to identify for interaction with the private
sector about where we could look to new development
opportunities. We have done a Phase 1 Hydropower Assessment
that we released the draft of last fall, which we are
finalizing within the next week. That identified approximately
65 sites with the capacity of about 209 megawatts of potential
Mr. McClintock. I am sorry. How many megawatts?
Mr. Connor. Two hundred and nine megawatts of potential
capacity. That is for new units at existing facilities. We are
also looking at opportunities for low head hydropower. We have
already done some assessments. We are envisioning finalizing a
draft report out this fall that identify opportunities to----
Mr. McClintock. What about potential resources? For
example, the Auburn Dam alone is 800 megawatts of additional
Mr. Connor. With respect to those type of facilities that
are not yet in place, we have not done an assessment of
opportunities out West.
Mr. McClintock. So we don't know what the total resources
are for hydroelectricity. How about for water?
Mr. Connor. For water, we have a number of specific ongoing
studies that exist with respect to potential storage
opportunities. We have also assessed what our opportunities
given our existing budget conditions to create new water
supplies through efficiency operations and conservation areas.
That is the 490,000 acre-feet goal that I mentioned. With
respect to storage studies----
Mr. McClintock. Well, look at just the Auburn Dam capacity
is 2.3 million acre-feet, so obviously again we don't seem to
have a comprehensive picture of what we need or how much we
have available to us that we could possibly develop.
Mr. Connor. We are not surveying every site out there in
the West for water storage opportunities, that is correct.
Mr. McClintock. So obviously you don't have a plan to apply
those undeveloped resources to meet our needs over the next
Mr. Connor. We have a plan to use our resources to create
new water supplies but not a comprehensive scale across the
Mr. McClintock. Well, over the last 20 years the population
in the West has increased about 40 percent. How much has our
water supply increased?
Mr. Connor. I don't know the answer to that question.
Mr. McClintock. How much has our hydroelectricity capacity
Mr. Connor. Overall, I don't have an answer to that
question either. I know that certain----
Mr. McClintock. It is fundamental to the mission of the
Bureau of Reclamation. I would hope that you can get
information to us at some point in the very near future.
Mr. Connor. Well, to assess those resources thoroughly we
would need to be able to conduct feasibility studies of all the
opportunities out there. Congress took that authority away from
us many years ago, decades ago. So we can do appraisal
analysis. We do a lot of those studies with our partners in
looking at opportunities that they see at the local level, but
you are correct, we do not have a comprehensive West-wide
program to do feasibility assessments of all opportunities for
water and power development.
Mr. McClintock. Thank you. Ms. Napolitano.
Mrs. Napolitano. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and my first
question would be to Commissioner Connor.
What would happen in the Klamath Basin if the restoration
agreement and the settlement agreement were not authorized nor
Mr. Connor. If the agreements that have been struck in the
Klamath Basin do not move forward, right now it is hard to say,
but there is an opportunity right now for a long-term
resolution of the conflict and issues that exist in the Klamath
Basin. Right now we are doing an assessment, a secretarial
determination on assessing the public interest and the
opportunity to revise the fishery through the removal of the
We are not undertaking that study and analysis on our own
accord. It is by an agreement by the owner of that dam, a
private owner of that dam, PacifiCorp, who has looked forward
with different constituencies and stakeholders in the Klamath
Basin and recognize that there is a history of conflict, there
is an ongoing limitation to the hydropower generation capacity
in those dams because of that, because of limited water supply,
because of environmental issues, and right now those dams, the
licenses have expired under FERC, and they have to engage in a
re-licensing process under the Federal Power Act.
The reality of that re-licensing process is if they go
through that, that they are looking at as a minimum, according
to PacifiCorp, at a minimum of $400 million of capital cost
associated with retrofitting those dams with fish passage and
other requirements. They are looking at increased operation and
maintenance costs, and PacifiCorp has made the determination
through its filings with the California Public Utility
Commission and the Oregon Public Utility Commission that the
rate payers are going to pay a substantially higher rate in the
future if those dams stay in place and the re-licensing
processes has to go forward.
So, the first step is analyzing the value and the benefits
and the costs of removing those dams, and that, if the
determination would be made to move forward and do that, that
has the potential for saving the rate payers on the electricity
site lots of money, and that is well documented in the filings
before the public utility commissions in those decision. That
is the energy side.
On the environmental side we have ongoing conflicts because
of the competing endangered species' needs in the Upper Klamath
Lake and in the Klamath River with the salmon species. Those
ongoing conflicts create impacts to the agricultural water
supply that we have available for the Klamath project. I should
note that those constituency, the irrigation districts, the
Klamath Basin Water Users Association are very strongly
supportive of moving forward with the hydropower settlement
agreement and the Klamath Basin restoration agreement because
it will provide long-term certainty. Improving the overall
environment will improve the ability to provide water for
Last, there are three tribes in the basin, four tribes that
exist in the basin who have an invested interest in fishery
resources as do non-Indian communities also. This is a good
chance to create access, depending on how the determination
would come up, to 300 miles of additional habitat in the
Klamath Basin and a great opportunity to restore the fisheries,
which has interest to the tribes, according to their treaty
rights, as well as economic opportunities for people in the
So, we have an ongoing history of conflict. We have
additional costs that will be incurred. If everything stays the
status quo, we will have more uncertainty, whereas if the
status quo changes in the Klamath Basin the hope would be that
the conflict that is involved in that basin for so long will be
gone, that there will be more certainty for water users, for
the fishery, and that overall power costs will be held in
Mrs. Napolitano. Thank you for the long answer, but that
answers my question.
Mr. Werkheiser, does the Fiscal Year 2012 budget request
provide adequate funding for data collection and scientific
research to inform Water Resource Management given the threats
of climate change to our water supplies? And I am very, very
keying in on Landsat 8, and some of the information that has
come back to us; in fact, how valuable it has been for the
ability to forecast in some areas.
Mr. Werkheiser. That is right. As far as data collection
for water management purposes, recognizing the difficult budget
environment we are in, we try to preserve those critical data
collection activities on a nationwide basis. So, we have tried
to preserve those, especially those things. We would like our
national stream flow information program, and the cooperative
water program where much of the data collection activity takes
place, so we have tried to preserve those as much as we could.
We look to Landsat, there is supposed to be Landsat 8, to
help inform us in the data collection activity.
Mrs. Napolitano. Thank you for your answer. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. Thank you. Mr. Denham for five minutes.
Mr. Denham. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My question goes to
First of all, the Reclamation has estimated through 2014
that the implementation of the San Joaquin River Restoration
Program is about $500 million, and the basic question is where
is that money going to come from?
Mr. Connor. Well, I don't know if it is $500 million
through 2014. I think it is the overall terms of the program,
which is a longer time period than just 2014.
Right now from the restoration program it is a collection
of different opportunities to implement the program. There is
$88 million in mandatory funding provided by Congress when the
initial Act was authorized in 2009, so we are using those
resources right now. The State of California has committed $200
million for the overall restoration effort. I think that is at
a minimum. There are funds being made available on an annual
basis through this Central Valley Project Restoration Fund,
approximately to the tune of $2 million per year, and there are
also funds contemplated to be made available from charges that
are paid for by the water users, and we have appropriations
request in our 2012 budget, so it is through that collection of
different funding mechanisms that we are going to use those
resources to implement the San Joaquin River Restoration
Mr. Denham. Thank you. I would like to see a detail of all
of that. I have a number of questions here just on the cost-
benefit ratio for the salmon run and re-introducing those to
the San Joaquin River. I will submit those to you.
The biggest concern I have right now is what is Reclamation
doing to replace the water that has been lost so that we can
actually get our agricultural industry working again in the
Central Valley? We are at about 20 percent unemployment now.
Mr. Connor. Well, we are taking a whole lot of actions to
try and augment the water supplies, to supplement them, to be
more efficient, and through those efforts efficiency, as
Congressman Costa indicated, we have a Inner Tie project that
we funded last year that we had a ground breaking. That is
estimated to save something in the order of 35,000 acre-feet to
add to the project water supply. We are supplementing the water
supply and looking for alternative sources for some of the
refuges; the level II diversification.
Mr. Denham. Supplementing or replacing?
Mr. Connor. Replacing actually through some of the
flexibility in the water supply for the refuge by looking for
opportunities to use groundwater. There are CVP contracts with
that supply, saving some of the storage for other CVP needs. We
are looking at a water transfer program, which will move water
from those who have sufficient quantities for their use to
those who don't have sufficient quantities for their use. We
are looking at doing an exchange program, source shifting so
that we can make water available to water users south of Delta,
and use some of the flexibility of the storage in Southern
California, and we are doing that with an opportunity with
Metropolitan Water District.
So, there are a whole series of actions that we are taking
to shore up our allocations, to be a little bit more aggressive
in our allocations while also we engage in our ongoing
conservation efforts both in the agricultural sector and the
Mr. Denham. Does it get us to 100 percent allocation?
Mr. Connor. Well, 100 percent allocation, if you are 100
percent of the contract, is not something that has been
experienced in the last 20 years. The average annual allocation
amount is 62 percent over the last 20 years for south of Delta
agricultural water service contractors.
Mr. Denham. Currently this year it is 50 percent?
Mr. Connor. This year it is 50 percent. The average initial
allocation, we have only made an initial allocation. We will
continue the allocation process through the May time period.
The average annual initial allocation south of Delta
agricultural water service contractors is 46 percent. We are at
50 percent this year. If we get additional precipitation in the
San Joaquin Basin, I anticipate that the south of Delta
allocation will go up.
Mr. Denham. We are currently at 130 percent to 200 percent
of the current snow pack?
Mr. Connor. We are 127 percent of snow pack year to date
overall. That was the figure that we used when we made the
initial allocation. Overall, that reflects 68 percent of the
overall water year average, so we are a conservative bunch at
the Bureau of Reclamation, so we have made an allocation based
on the notion that we have a lot of the water year left. We
have tried to be as very aggressive as we can because that
helps the farmers make their decisions, so we are at 50 percent
right now, but you have to remember we are still under the
overall year-long average, that 127 percent. That figure
represents precipitation year to date.
Mr. Denham. And----
Mr. McClintock. We are going to have to cut you off there.
I am sorry. You time is up.
Mr. Denham. Thank you. I will submit the rest to you.
Mr. McClintock. We can go for another round of
Mr. Denham. OK.
Mr. McClintock.--at the end of this panel. Again, an order
of seniority when questioning began followed by order of
arrival, Mr. Costa.
Mr. Costa. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Denham,
it is different than Sacramento, but you will get used to it.
You know, the Chairman made a good observation about the
Bureau is the largest wholesaler of water in the entire
country, 31 million acre-feet on the average, I believe, and I
think you ought to be making assessments, especially in the
western states where it is so critical, and we have growth
patterns that are taking place. And if there is a bar, and I am
not familiar with that bar that took place previously about
making these assessments, and we ought to look about removing
that bar because you cannot be a good purveyor as the largest
wholesaler of water in the West and not make these assessments
about the change in growth patterns, whether it is New Mexico,
Idaho, or California. So that is just food for thought, Mr.
Chairman, and I would concur working on that.
Let me grind into some of the questions here. First of all,
taking off on Mr. Denham's point on the San Luis unit. While it
is 50 percent there, other Federal service areas are at 100
percent on different regions within the state. What do you
think, and I do applaud you, you have announced earlier than
you have ever before the first early allocation so farmers can
plan and meet with their bankers and get the loans necessary,
but I believe that here in the next four weeks, we have rain
patterns going right now, and I have the actual current flows
in the snow packs that are Trinity, Shasta and Folsom, as well
as New Melones and Millerton Lake that are prime reservoir
supplies for this water.
I believe the current flexibility that you are
demonstrating is not being demonstrated with NOAA as it relates
to the San Luis unit. Do you believe that is the critical area
in terms of where we could get in in April and May allocation
that we will have to revert back to flows that would not allow
us to exceed the 50 percent level?
Mr. Connor. Well, I am not sure I am following 100 percent.
I think we are in good shape with the 50 percent allocation.
Mr. Costa. But I think when we have other areas that have
100 percent in the area, that we could get up to 60 or 70
percent, but we are going to have to cut back in April and May,
as you know.
Mr. Connor. Right. You are absolutely correct.
Mr. Costa. And that flexibility that you are demonstrating
is not being demonstrated, in my view, by the Department of
Commerce under NOAA even though we have these above average
rainfall and snow pack on the Sierra.
Mr. Connor. Let me point out something there. We are
working very closely with NOAA, and I do think that we have a
more coordinated and more flexible approach that we are
applying to all these issues. I should say though you are
correct. We are going to cut back pumping under the NOAA
biological opinion in April under its terms, and we will go
back to a combined----
Mr. Costa. And that will be a reduction of 200,000 acre-
feet of water, I believe.
Mr. Connor. I have not done the acre-foot calculation.
Mr. Costa. OK.
Mr. Connor. It goes down to 1,500.
Mr. Costa. But we have to work on that.
Mr. Connor. Well, let me just mention though it is not just
the NOAA biological opinion though. That is April. May, we
would be--whether or not there was a NOAA biological opinion,
we would be restricting pumping in May. The Bureau of
Reclamation operates its projects under state water permits. We
have conditions on those permits. The permit as it currently
Mr. Costa. No, but you also have now two opinions, one by
Judge Wanger on salmonid that has asked you to go back to the
drawing board on that, and another one that is pending as it
relates to Delta Smelt.
Mr. Connor. And if those are thrown out eventually, which
actually isn't where the litigation is going. We will still
have our state water permit conditions which restrict our
pumping in May.
Mr. Costa. All right. To be revisited here. We will have to
sit down and talk about that.
Let us move over to the San Joaquin River/Delta Settlement
Agreement. I mentioned in my opening comments that I think we
have a host of efforts that are not being done. First of all,
the feasibility study by the Bureau of Reclamation has not been
done in 2006 or 2008 since the enactment of the legislation.
Where are we on that?
The programmatic efforts on the environmental impact
efforts need to be done if we are going to mitigate for these
projects. What is your plan to compensate for landowners for
damages they suffered last year?
Mr. Connor. We are in the process and working with some of
the landowners about some of the mitigation activities and the
compensation for some of the actions that they have had to
undertake because of seepage concerns.
Mr. Costa. No, I understand that, but coming back to
Washington and filing in Small Claims Court is not, in my view,
a satisfactory resolution.
Mr. Connor. And that is one part of the group that we have
not been working with that haven't engaged with us. We have
others who have engaged with us. We have a mitigation program.
We are doing the environmental analysis.
Mr. Costa. What steps are you taking to make sure that they
won't happen again this year?
Mr. Connor. Well, we have installed something to the order
of 100 monitoring wells in the system to understand better
seepage. We do, as soon as we get our environmental compliance
activities done, which we are scheduled to do this year, we
will have a mitigation program. We will be able to compensate
and take proactive measures to address the seepage issues, and
we are kind of in the middle of that right now.
But you are correct, we have ongoing issues associated with
the release of interim flows, and we need to take care of that.
Mr. McClintock. Thank you very much.
Mr. Costa. My time has expired but I would like to revisit
it if we get a second round.
Mr. McClintock. We will definitely do a second round.
Mr. Costa. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Tipton.
Mr. Tipton. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Commissioner
Connor, coming out of one of the headwater states, Colorado, we
are obviously very concerned in terms of our ability to be able
to store water, and I think for our lower basin state friends
that is also very important when we are looking at potential
calls on the river.
Outside of the Animus-La Plata Project, can you share with
us any plans that the Bureau of Reclamation may have in terms
of increasing water storage in the State of Colorado?
Mr. Connor. In the State of Colorado, off the top of my
head I don't know that we have any water storage projects per
se in the State of Colorado right now that we are doing
I have to say that with respect to the overall issue raised
by the Chairman and raised by Congressman Costa about
assessments we do have an active Basin Studies Program going on
to assess supply and demand imbalances. We do have on the
Colorado River Basin itself, we have a lot of stakeholders,
driven by the seven basin states themselves in which Colorado
is participating, but a lot of other stakeholders.
In addressing supply and imbalances, storage options are
part of that process and there are some stakeholders that are
interested in looking at new storage opportunities, so whether
or not we come out in the report on the basin studies is going
to come out in four areas. It is going to define the problem,
then it is going to start looking at ways to address the
problem. Whether or not there are going to be specific storage
opportunities that are part of those basin studies assessment,
I am not quite sure right now, but we can check for you and get
an answer on the record.
Mr. Tipton. I would appreciate that and I do have to
express--you know, I am a little concerned, as I think many
are, that defining the problem, that is easy, we can save a lot
of money. We don't have enough water stored. And when we have
these opportunities where we have increased snow pack coming
through we need to be able to grasp those opportunities,
particularly for the upper basin states, where we are the
headwaters. Once the water is gone we have no other opportunity
to be able to grow our economies, to be able to keep our
When I heard your comment here that there is not a
comprehensive plan in place right now to deal with the West,
you know, it certainly raises the question what have we been
looking at for a number of years. We have seen population
transfers going out to the western U.S., and we are going to
have to be able to have more water to be able to deal with
One issue that I am a little curious on because it has come
up through some of our meetings going back to our district is
the Endangered Species Act, and I am curious, I visited with
some BLM Forest Service people and they said that if we have
fish in fish hatcheries, as the Chairman mentioned in his
opening statement, when those are released those are not
included in the count. Can you explain the common sense of that
to me when the idea is to be able to save the species and have
them in the river in periods of time?
Mr. Connor. I do not know the answer to the question about
how under the Endangered Species Act you account for hatchery
raised fish versus native fish, quite frankly. I do know though
that part of what--you take the Colorado River Recovery
Implementation Program, part of what we do is to fund hatchery
activities to supplement those native stocks, to try and get
them to rear and propagate in the natural setting, et cetera,
and that is all part of the recovery process.
So, I don't know the specific answer to your question,
which I assume is more for the Fish and Wildlife Service or
NOAA fisheries and how they operate the program. I do know that
hatchery and propagation is one of the key recovery type
actions that we take under our recovery programs.
Mr. Tipton. You know, during the last Congress Secretary
Salazar testified, and I hope that we can be in concurrence
with a lot of what Bureau of Reclamation needs to be dealing
with in terms of water storage to be able to help our
communities, to be able to help job creation, to be able to
maintain jobs that we currently have, particularly in the
agricultural communities. But Secretary Salazar testified
before this committee he had the discretion to waive the
Endangered Species Act when it came to unemployment caused by
the Delta Smelt regulation, but indicated by doing so it would
be ``admitting failure'' to quote him.
This year some of the snow pack has been estimated to be at
180 percent of normal in the Sierras, but some irrigators are
only going to be able to get about 50 percent of their water
allocation, and that means that at least 1.4 million acre-feet
of additional project water is just going into the ocean. Do
you view that as a failure by the Administration in terms of
standing up for the American people and jobs?
Mr. Connor. I think there are a lot of factors at play and
the Endangered Species Act is an oversimplification of the
factors that are at play that address water issues. As I
mentioned before, we operate under state water permits, and
those permits and the conditions such in the values of each
state and those state laws result in us not--in this particular
case in California--not pumping water during the May time
period, which impacts the water supply. As I indicated before,
people can look at a 62 percent or a 50 percent allocation as
being a water shortage, but this is something that has been
going on for the last 20 years, quite frankly. So, there are a
lot of complicating factors, so I would not sit here and admit
failure. I would just submit our goal is to continue to improve
water supply reliability to promote certainty and
sustainability, and that strikes a proper balance.
Mr. McClintock. Thank you. Mr. Lujan.
Mr. Lujan. Mr. Chairman, thank you, and before I begin, in
addition to Commissioner Connor and Assistant Director
Werkheiser, I also want to acknowledge another great person
that is with us today, Deanna Archuleta, who is the Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Water and Science of the Department of
the Interior who has been very helpful in helping us navigate
our ability to be able to look after New Mexico as well.
Mr. Chairman, I am glad to hear the conversation pertaining
to the attention to jobs, and what it means to the importance
of looking at this infrastructure, the work that the Bureau of
Reclamation does to make sure that communities will be able to
sustain agricultural projects. That way we can put more farmers
to work, more ranchers to work, make sure that as we are going
to have a conversation in the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska
Native Affairs, to make sure that we are empowering tribal
communities as well, to look to see how they can produce more
food for us, whether it is more beef or lamb, and I am really
happy to hear that there may be some agreement to the
importance of these projects.
Commissioner, in December the President signed into law
four tribal water rights settlements that ended years of active
litigation, where dollars were being wasted on litigation as
opposed to going into those projects that we talk about to make
sure they are actually producing more food or that they are
putting more people to work, and so quickly, Commissioner, if
you could just answer, why is it so important for the Federal
Government to negotiate and support water right settlements
with our tribes, and what does it mean for the Reclamation's
Mr. Connor. I would reiterate the terrific points that you
have made, Congressman Lujan. It is about, and I know in your
opening statement that Reclamation is a part of our goals to
help economies grow. We want to sustain jobs, also we want to
protect those agricultural interests. We want to protect the
recreational interests that exist with healthy rivers, and we
also want to look for new opportunities to promote economic
So, with respect to your question on Indian water right
settlements, it is certainly for non-Indian water users in the
communities, both the Acequias in the Rio Pojoaque Basin now
have certainty, they know what their water supply is going to
be, and they are not under any threat of Indian water rights
claims. It is economic development for the tribes. We are going
to do infrastructure investments with those tribal economies.
They will benefit from that. Then they will benefit from the
long-term certainty of having a foundational need for economic
development, which is water, along with energy, so those tribes
will benefit in the long term from that. So we are fulfilling
commitments made long ago to those tribal communities. We are
helping them grow. We are helping them reach that self-
determination and self-governance that is a Federal policy in
place, and we are doing so in a manner that benefits their
Mr. Lujan. Commissioner, I appreciate that. Mr. Chairman,
as we talked about the importance of making sure that our
friends in California are also going to be able to get the
necessary support to their farmers, and I am most familiar with
this with the conversations I have had with Mr. Costa. There
are many areas in the country, especially in the West, that we
look to to provide some support. Southern Colorado with the
rich area of agriculture, I know a lot of hay comes to New
Mexico via route of that corridor there, and we are very
dependent on these important partnerships.
And hearing from Mr. Garamendi about the importance of
making sure we strike that balance, to make sure you are
putting people to work and supporting infrastructure that is
going to support jobs all over America, especially in the West
where we are seeing a lot of growth, we can obviously see the
importance of these projects.
In New Mexico and throughout the country Native American
water settlements approved by Congress have settled years of
water disputes as I discussed earlier. Can you tell me the
importance and rationale of the New Native American Waters
Rights Settlement Account and the need for concurrent budget
request to be able to support those projects that you just
Mr. Connor. Well, these settlements represent a very large
investment by the Federal Government to achieve the benefits
that I just talked about, and through the Claims Resolution Act
that the President signed into law last December a very high
level of mandatory funding is made available as part of that
piece of legislation.
That is part of the equation, but we also are going to need
to look for appropriated dollars to supplement that so that we
can make sure we take care of the implementation activities
that are required to fully and finally resolve those claim so
that the New Indian Rights Settlement Account will be the
mechanism for transparency.
We used to have this in project-by project line items
within our water resources account. This brings it out, this
identifies the ongoing investments that will complement
mandatory funding as well as the appropriated dollar will put
it all out there with the specific settlements we are
implementing. This is a large part of our program now, so it
was time to just highlight what we are investing in Indian
water rights settlements.
Mr. Lujan. I appreciate that, Commissioner, and Mr.
Chairman, time is running out here. I know that there is
another important project that I----
Mr. McClintock. Time is out now. I have to cut you off
there. I am sorry.
Mr. Lujan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Gosar is next.
Dr. Gosar. Along those lines, I would like to address to
Mr. Connor. With regard to those water settlements, we have to
look at the Navajo generating station. Located in northern
Arizona, it serves the energy supply for the delivery of the
Central Arizona Project water, and the largest ownership
percentage belongs to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 24.3
percent. It also serves a major source of electrical energy for
power consumers in Arizona, California and Nevada.
NGS is unique in that it is located on the Navajo Nation
lands, and various leases and grants require for the station,
coal supply, railroad, and transmission systems will expire
within the next 10 years. There are a number of environmental
regulations under development in the process of implementation
that would require significant capital investment by the
The most significant issues are with the NGS owners today
is the Clean Air Act, Regional Hazing Act, or the BART
termination. The question of what will constitute BART for NGS
and the timing of the installation of the corresponding
equipment could pose a real threat to continued operations of
that station. Should the EPA determine the selective catalytic
reduction, SCR, in the BAG house for NGS, and that these
equipment must be installed within the five-year compliance,
deadline specifically in the BART process. The NGS owners will
be faced with a decision to invest over a billion dollars at
the time when the renewal of the leases and the grants remain
It is possible that the owners will not be willing to make
such a large investment with such uncertainty concerning the
future of this station. Even if the owners approve the
investment, the cost of these controls will have a significant
impact on the water delivery costs for the customers of CAP.
Reclamation has the responsibility for the extension of the
water service contract for the Navajo generating station while
the BIA is the lead on the additional land transmission
agreements. Coal lease extensions are also underway in a
separate process involving the Office of Surface Mining and the
BIA. Given the relation of these agreements, the operator has
encouraged a unified and coordinated process for negotiating
extensions in order to avoid duplicative requirements and
streamline decisionmaking. It is currently unclear how the
Department of the Interior will proceed with the extensions of
the water, land, and transmission agreement.
My then question is, where is the Department of the
Interior in the process of determining how to proceed with
contract extensions for Navajo generating station, and how is
the Bureau of Reclamation involved in this decision?
Mr. Connor. That is a very good question and a very
complicated question, and you identified all the different
competing values at stake, and this is a very tough issue for
us. But with respect to the issue of where we are with the
decisionmaking process, the stakeholders have asked for a
coordinated process, and that is what we are trying to give
them. They asked for a coordinated one, EIS to address all
these issues, and we are not going to do that route, but we are
going to coordinate our actions so that we can come up with a
comprehensive solution. That is what we are shooting for.
So, we are working under departmental guidance, Reclamation
obviously is taking a lead role given our interest in the
generating station itself as well as the water supply contract
that is looking for renewal. So, we are working with the other
project owners and trying to work our way through maybe some
type of proposal that will address the issues in the BART
process, which is led by EPA, and if we get some kind of timing
with respect to that, that might be workable, and we are just
in the middle of discussions right now. And there has been some
proposals and people are looking at those proposals. But I
think that is kind of fundamental until we start working back
on the timelines for the extension of water service contracts,
right-of-way agreements, of which we are not completely--we,
the Department, are not. The Navajo Nation has a very strong
interest that we have to work with through on what they want to
give for right of ways and the co-lease agreements itself.
So, it is a step-by-step process that we are trying to look
at all in one view, and the best I could tell you right now is
that we are fully engaged. We are coordinating as a department
in our approach on NGS and we are working with the
Dr. Gosar. With that being said, completing these
agreements is critical for the continued operations at NGS, and
it seems that a consolidated Department of the Interior process
to extend the various pieces needed for continuing operations
would be the most efficient path forward. Will you commit to
work with us to ensure that these extensions move forward in a
unified and timely fashion?
Mr. Connor. That is our goal and I commit to work with you
through that process, absolutely.
Dr. Gosar. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Garamendi.
Mr. Garamendi. Thank you very much, and thank you for your
responses to the many questions that have been raised.
Does the Bureau of Reclamation have any authority to do a
general survey of water and power throughout the West?
Mr. Connor. Not throughout the West, but I don't want to
leave the impression that we are not addressing the needs
issue. In fact, we have through our Basin Studies Program a
very active approach, but we do that with stakeholders. They
have to cost share. They have to be interested in working with
us. We are not out there on our own accord trying to dictate
potential solutions or to define the problems for people. We
work with stakeholders and the people basin by basin, and that
is the goal of the Basin Studies Program.
Mr. Garamendi. You have very specific responsibility in
specific areas of the West on specific river basins, but not
generally throughout the West, is that correct?
Mr. Connor. That is correct.
Mr. Garamendi. Good.
Mr. Connor. I mean, water management and allocation is
primarily a state responsibility.
Mr. Garamendi. With regard to Title XVI, which is the
reclamation issue, which I call real reclamation, in California
there is, perhaps, up to a million acre-feet of water currently
available in Southern California for reclaiming, recycling the
water, arguably the fifth biggest river on the West Coast or
the Western Hemisphere are the sanitation plants in Southern
We take water some 500 miles, pump it 5,000 feet in the
air, clean it, use it once, clean it to a higher standard from
the day it arrives and dump it in the ocean. Duh, doesn't make
much sense. So your reclamation program, it seems to me, that
is, the recycling program, is of extraordinary importance.
The cost is significant here and we need to understand the
cost factors. By the way, the Auburn Dam does not yield 2.5
million acre-feet of water. It yields about 200,000 acre-feet
of water. There may be storage capacity at that but not yield,
which is water down the river for use. Quite a different thing.
And I understand the cost is somewhere in the range of $46,000
an acre-foot; probably beyond their effort of even a municipal
to pay for.
With regard to the allocation issue, you hit this one. I
think we need to be really careful in understanding the
allocation issue in California. There are six, I believe six
different allocations made each year. Jim, Mr. Costa correctly
pointed out the allocations on the Kern almost always been
close to 100 percent except in a severe drought. The exchange
contractors are almost always at 100 percent. It is in fact one
unit that is--I don't think has ever gotten to 100 percent
because their contract doesn't call for 100 percent, and that
is the San Luis unit. They are the short straw. They are the
straw that gets what is left over in any given year, and we
need to be very careful as we discuss these issues of
allocation, and your effort to come in earlier on allocations
is very important to everybody, environment as well as the
agricultural area, and you are doing a good job with that and
we appreciate that.
One more thing, and this is where my question goes. We
currently have passed legislation out of this House that would
stop the Bureau of Reclamation from activities on the San
Joaquin, and I think Mr. Costa is going to go back at this and
I would urge you to pay careful attention to his desire for
coordination among the Federal and state agencies, and the
local agencies. I think he is right on point with that.
However, it doesn't make any sense to stop the Bureau of
Reclamation on the San Joaquin settlement, it doesn't make any
sense to stop the Fish and Wildlife Service and NMFS on the
biological opinions in the Delta. What would be the impact of
doing that should that CR actually become, CR-1 actually become
Mr. Connor. Well, a two-part question there and I will try
and be brief. With respect to restricting the Bureau of
Reclamation's ability to comply with the reasonable and prudent
alternatives that are in the biological opinions on CVP
operations, that would result, if we cannot implement the
reasonable and prudent alternatives, then we lose our
incidental take protection under the Endangered Species Act,
and we have ongoing incidental take, and we will have no choice
but to cease our operations because we can't be in violation of
the Endangered Species Act.
Mr. Garamendi. Cease meaning shut the pumps down?
Mr. Connor. That is correct. We cannot operation the
project in violation of the Endangered Species Act.
With respect to the question on the San Joaquin River
restoration program, limiting the ability to implement the
settlement at some point in time makes the settlement
noneffective and you have the uncertainty and you have the
ongoing conflict that resulted in the settlement in the first
Once again a Federal court judge has held that the Bureau
of Reclamation is in violation of state law, not the Federal
law, state law. There is a provision in the California Waters
Code that we have been held to be in violation of. This
settlement resolves that issue by providing for the flows
needed to be maintained below Friant Dam. And what we have done
instead of just having a judge order the release of storage is
to have a very thoughtful approach on what releases would be
needed to be made, how we would address the fishery restoration
issues, how we would try and engage how to have the river hold
the flows, and make improvements along various reaches of the
river. So we try, as I understand it, those who negotiated the
settlement, to take a thoughtful approach with the limited
impacts to resolve this very contentious issue.
Mr. McClintock. Thank you. Ms. Noem.
Ms. Noem. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Connor, I have a couple of questions for you, and I
think that specifically you talked quite a bit about certainty
and sustainability, and then it was very encouraging to me to
also hear you talk about fulfilling commitments because I have
a curiosity about how you prioritize the dollars that come
through the Bureau of Reclamation; talking about climate change
and river restoration and those things tend to be a priority. I
am wondering where people factor into that in getting critical
water needs met within specific projects that have been out
I know that there are many projects in the past that have
been authorized but haven't been completed. And I know that
when you prioritize within those projects that you are sending
dollars to you look at if they touch Native American tribes,
you look at how near they are to completion, but in many of
these projects the local communities have invested dollars, the
state has invested dollars, and these people are waiting for
high-quality water, or hundreds of thousands of people for
these dollars to come in and finish these projects.
So, I am curious, when you have the amount of dollars that
come into the Bureau of Reclamation how you prioritize those
based on the Endangered Species Act, based on river
restoration, based on everything else, and how you factor that
and prioritize that according to people actually getting their
drinking water needs met.
Mr. Connor. Well, I would say that everything we do is
about people, quite frankly. First of all, when we prioritize
our budget we look at what do we need to operate, maintain and
take care of the infrastructure and the ongoing obligations
that we have to our water contractors. Quite frankly, we can
talk about the ESA in the abstract or we can talk about river
restoration, but to me those are fundamental parts of our
mission because if we do not take care of and comply with the
Endangered Species Act, if we are not addressing the effects of
our operations on the environment, then under the laws that we
operate, whether they are Federal or state, we will not be able
to deliver water and generate power which benefits people, or
sustain the economies built up from the recreational standpoint
from living rivers that are health river, too.
So, that certainly to me is part and parcel of our overall
set of responsibilities that are critical to address the needs
of people. Drinking water is--you are absolutely correct. It is
fundamental and we have a very strong need there. We have
certainly prioritized the work we are doing on Indian water
rights settlements. Congress has directed us to implement a
number of these settlements by a certain date out there, so in
our limited budget resources we are trying to do the best we
can to manage to make sure we can meet those commitments.
Our rural water projects, of which are very important to
your state, and I certainly appreciate that, quite frankly, we
are down this year in this budget in rural water project
funding. We have prioritized them because of the cost of
completion, or where it is in the ability to complete that
project as well as fundamentally our operating and maintenance
costs for those rural water projects are the priority.
I can say that we were very happy to be able to invest $232
million of our Recovery Act dollars in the rural water
programs, and that helped us great to get with some of the
larger pieces of infrastructure water treatment plants, which
are very costly, so that we can take whatever resources we have
and try to continue to just lay pipeline and get more
communities, but I acknowledge that that program is down this
year. We are happy to have made the investment, but we need to
look at ways to make that investment in the future. I am sorry.
Ms. Noem. So when you are specifically looking at your
dollars that you have available, do you have a formula that you
follow as far as how you make your request known and how you
specifically designate your dollars?
Mr. Connor. Not a specific formula. As I mentioned, I think
operation, maintenance, rehabilitation, those kind of
fundamental items are looked at first. Then we look at all the
other obligations we have to be able to maintain those
facilities, et cetera, and operate those facilities such as the
laws that I mentioned, Endangered Species Act, et cetera, and
we are kind of looking at a balanced set of approaches to deal
with the many challenges that we have. You know, we have got 6
billion for basis. We think it is very imperative to look at
supply and demand imbalances. Climate change is one factor in
that, so we try and have an aggressive program to better
understand. We have science and technology related to invasive
species that are impacting our facilities. As I mentioned, we
have the Indian Water Rights Settlements Program, which we view
as obligations under our budget.
Ms. Noem. So one final question before my time runs out.
Mr. Connor. Certainly.
Ms. Noem. So how do you decide which project to fund over
another without using a formula?
Mr. Connor. Well, in each type of--so take rural water
projects, we do have criteria that we use just as we have
criteria that we use with respect to our----
Ms. Noem. Is population served one of those criteria?
Mr. Connor. It is not at this point in time. Population
served is one thing that I am looking at right now.
Ms. Noem. All right, thank you very much.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Markey, your timing is impeccable. You
Mr. Markey. Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Whether it is terrorist threats on our nation's critical
infrastructure or threats to our water supply from climate
change, Reclamation's budget helps to arm our water managers
with the tools that they need to face water challenges head on.
Last week the FBI arrested a Texas resident charged with the
attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. His targets
included President Bush's house, nuclear power plants and dams
and reservoirs in California and Colorado. I understand that in
2010 the Bureau of Reclamation requested $28.8 million for site
security, of that $21.3 million for guards and $7.5 million for
physical improvements and upgrades.
How often does Reclamation inspect all of these dams to
ensure that the operators are doing what they said they would
do in their security plans?
Mr. Connor. Thank you, Congressman Markey.
We have an ongoing inspection program that really at this
point in time is carrying out a set of actions that were
undertaken after 9/11 to fortify our facilities. We have five
facilities in particular that are of national significance, so
we have looked at those and prioritized those with respect to
fortifications. We have invested over the last 10 years or so
approximately $100 million in fortification, plus the ongoing
annual security costs, operating and maintenance costs that we
need on a year-to-year basis.
So, we have the plans in place. We are still in the process
of implementing that plan, which is requiring ongoing
inspections, assessments that are carried out not only by
Bureau of Reclamation but by the Department folks also who we
work with very closely with. So, it is an ongoing effort and we
are still fortifying.
Mr. Markey. So, do the plans need any further revising
given the fact that these facilities were first constructed
when terrorist threats were very different than they are today?
Are you revising them?
Mr. Connor. Yes, we are as we go forward.
Mr. Markey. What is the deadline that you have set for the
completion of the revisions?
Mr. Connor. The fortifications process, I don't know that
answer off the top of my head so I will have to provide it for
the written record.
Mr. Markey. Is it six months or two years? Can you give us
Mr. Connor. Well, it is an ongoing process, quite frankly,
where we automate, where we do surveillance, where we
undertaken other activities, but over time as we get more
fortifications in place----
Mr. Markey. No, I appreciate that. It is just that this
person who was arrested last week who was threatening to kill
President Bush but also to attack dams and reservoirs in
California and Colorado, I hope will intensify your----
Mr. Connor. Oh, absolutely.
Mr. Markey.--and telescope the timeframe that it will take
for you to present a final plan to protect against a
catastrophic event occurring because we know al-Qaeda is out
there. We know that they put these kinds of targets at the very
top of their terrorist list, and I just think that it is
important for you to complete that in a timely fashion.
Mr. Connor. Absolutely.
Mr. Markey. Reclamation was established as an agency over a
century ago. Commissioner, our water supply outlook changed
since that time in the United States. What does that mean for
Reclamation's project facilities? How is Reclamation helping
communities in the West mitigate against the effects of climate
change on water supplies?
Mr. Connor. We have several programs in place but it starts
with our science and technology program. We are still in the
process of gaining a better understanding of the impacts of
climate change. Now, we know already from the factual data that
exists over the last decade or so about less precipitation in
the form of snow pack, which is storage, and more in rain, so
we are going to have more frequent flooding events, and we are
having earlier runoff, and we are having more demand because of
higher temperatures, so we know certain aspects.
We are still trying to better understand over the long term
how precipitation patterns might change. There is certainly a
good agreement amongst a lot of global circulation models,
atmospheric models that suggest that we are likely to have a 10
percent reduction in in-flows in the Colorado River system over
time through a very oversubscribed system.
Mr. Markey. What timeframe are you using for that reduction
Mr. Connor. Ten percent is based on the analyses we have
done, consolidating all of the available analysis in the 2060
Mr. Markey. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. We are out of time. We next need to go to
Mr. Gohmert. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and appreciate the
witnesses being here, but heck, I will just follow up on that.
I know in my district we have had more snow that we have
had in my lifetime and people aren't used to paying a lot of
energy cost in the wintertime because it is just normally not
this cold as it has been, and even the gentleman from East
Anglia that is supposed to be such an expert has basically
admitted there are indications that things may be cooling.
So, are you supporting efforts to try to get more carbon
dioxide into the atmosphere so that we can try to bring down
the amount of snow that we are getting in areas that don't want
it, don't need it because it sounds like we need to reverse
course here so that we can help the people that don't need this
snow and ice, and have been really adversely affected?
I have some people that cannot pay their propane bills out
in rural areas, so anything you can do to help produce more
CO2 would be helpful to the folks in my district.
But you know, with regard to the way this country seems to
so often shoot itself in the foot, I was part of a task force
back five or six years ago that went around the country having
hearings regarding environmental protection and endangered
species, and we heard from one energy producer up in Washington
State that they had been required to take actions that cost
seven or eight million dollars to save 20 salmon, and, of
course, rate payers pay for that kind of thing. And you know,
we have spent, as a colleague has alluded to, really decades
trying to save endangered species, and we have cost taxpayers
billions and billions of dollars, and then out of pocket from
private landowners who haven't been able to use their own land,
and yet we have preserved less than 1 percent of the endangered
species, so obviously it is not working. We are wasting money
and we are not doing it efficiently.
And then we hear the Delta Smelt has cost people jobs,
which hurts families and hurts children. It hurts schools, it
hurts everybody, and the fact that God has been gracious and
granted some extra rain this year is nice, but at some point we
are expected to be good stewards with what we are getting the
rest of the time.
So, I just wondered if maybe in your work as Reclamation if
you had some suggestions of things that we could do to improve
the horrible, horrible efficiency of the endangered species
where we could actually preserve some species and not condemn
private landowners to never using their land effectively again.
Any thoughts? Any suggestions?
Mr. Connor. I agree with you that we need to look to
continually with more efficiency and better science on how we
implement the Endangered Species Act. We are certainly trying
to do this. I can give you examples specifically with respect
to California water with one of the biological opinions. You
mentioned the Delta Smelt. One question has been where are the
smelt and how are they impacted by the pumps, and there are
certain assumptions made in the biological opinion because the
smelt follow turbidity, so one of the things that we have done,
I think people, there are different views, but they are willing
to accept the need for some measures if they are good
scientifically based and justified and they believe it is good
So, we have gone out, we have certainly tried to increase
our ability to monitor turbidity, to find out how it influences
where the smelt are. Those actions----
Mr. Gohmert. My time is running out. I was looking for
specific concrete suggestions, and so I would ask if you could
have people on your staff maybe brainstorm things we could do
to improve the efficiency of that.
But I know you deal with lawsuits, virtually every project
has a lawsuit against it, and I noted that our staff had found
that Trout Unlimited in 2010 was given $500,000 in a grant for
ecosystem restoration purposes, and they also happen to have a
lawsuit pending against the Federal Government over Colorado
River operations. Is this a common thing where we give grants
to people that are suing us apparently since money is fungible
can fund the operation of suing our Federal Government? Brief
Mr. Connor. Yes, I think it is common because we give a lot
of grants to irrigation districts who also sue us, as well as
environmental groups who sue us in other contexts. I think the
reality of a grant is we want to make it for a specific action.
We want to be able to verify that it is used for that action,
which is not litigation-based. The reality of the situation is
everybody sues us.
Mr. Gohmert. OK, it sounds like we keep feeding the dogs
trained to bite us so we need to do something.
Mr. McClintock. I have to cut you off.
Mr. Gohmert. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Labrador.
Mr. Labrador. I don't believe I have any questions.
Mr. McClintock. All right. Well, then we will begin a
second round of questions, and I would like to begin, Mr.
Connor, by revisiting the Klamath Dam issue.
I think you left a very false impression that the agreement
has overwhelming if not unanimous support from the people of
the region. The fact is the off project irrigators have
rejected the deal. A nearby county referendum overwhelmingly
rejected the idea of dam destruction in the last election
cycle. Several local elections were decided decisively against
candidates who were supporting that project, and that
agreement, and that was the main issue in those campaigns.
Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors formally have taken a
position of opposition in a letter to Congress. So, to suggest
that somehow this is overwhelmingly supported by the locals is
exactly precisely the opposite of the truth.
I would also note that you forgot to mention in discussing
increased cost of electricity to consumers that those increases
are entirely because of government fait and not because of an
increased cost of actually generating the power, and in fact
the cost of replacement power for those dams is going to be
many, many times the actual cost of generating the power.
I will agree with you that the settlement is agreed to by
those who would make a great deal of money off of the
agreement, starting with PacifiCorp, which would be getting a
half a billion dollars of taxpayer funds to tear down their own
With that, I would like to ask a question regarding the
Iron Gate Fishery. Part of the agreement, which shut down that
fishery, that hatchery that is producing 5 million salmon smolt
a year, 17,000 of which return to the river as fully grown
adults to spawn. How does that action improve salmon
populations of the Klamath?
Mr. Connor. I don't believe that is accurate that the Iron
Gate Fish Hatchery would be destroyed. My understanding is----
Mr. McClintock. It would be closed. You are shutting off
the water to it.
Mr. Connor. My understanding that under the agreement
PacifiCorp is currently evaluating how to operate the facility
without the dam and has agreed to fund it something on the
order of eight years plus after dam removal should dam removal
ever take place. So, it is anticipated that that hatchery will
remain in operation and PacifiCorp has agreed to fund it.
Mr. McClintock. The fact of the matter is the population
count supporting destruction of those dams specifically and
deliberately ignore the fish bred at the hatchery, including
those that return as fully grown adults.
Mr. Connor. Well, I think the best analysis of what will
happen with dam removal is to allow the secretarial
determination process to proceed and the open and transparent
science that is being done right now to inform all communities
of the cost, benefits, et cetera, associated with the dam
removal and the two criteria for secretarial determination are
public interest, taking account of economic factors, and from a
biological perspective what will be the impact on the fishery,
will the dam removal indeed lead to fishery restoration.
Mr. McClintock. Let us go on to the Glen Canyon Dam that
has lost a third of its capacity, a thousand megawatts of lost
electricity due to environmental flows. How many megawatts
bureau-wide have been lost over the past decade to
Mr. Connor. I don't have a figure for lost hydropower
generation due to various laws, et cetera.
Mr. McClintock. That is correct, a thousand megawatts is
roughly enough for a million households, and that is just the
loss of the Glen Canyon Dam due to the environmental flows.
Don't you think that the Bureau of Reclamation charged with
responsibility for superintending our hydroelectric facilities
should have an accurate idea of how much generating capacity
has been squandered with these environmental flows?
Mr. Connor. Well, we do work on those issues. We try and
maximize what we can doing with the issues we have to address,
and we are doing that at Glen Canyon, but we also are not
standing pat. We are bringing online more hydropower resources
all the time. We have through our efficiency and operating
program increased hydropower generating capacity to the tune of
almost 2,000 megawatts over the last 25 years----
Mr. McClintock. I would just in the final five second
express the thought that you really need to get a handle on
what our needs are, what our resources are, or what we are
losing and what we are holding onto, and with that I will
recognize Mrs. Napolitano.
Mrs. Napolitano. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just a little bit of clarification. The issue of low-flush
toilets and its impact in L.A. County, and the young lady is
not here but just for the record I would like to indicate that
the county has 12 million people, and in 30 years of water
recycling the conservation, the storage, the education of the
people, we are still using the same amount of water of three
decades ago with an increase of 3.5 million people in that 30
years. So you understand how critical all of it is, it is part
and parcel of being able to address how do we conserve, how do
we train, how do we store water, so a lot of credit goes to the
Bureau of Reclamation for working with my entities.
Second, Mr. Chair, I would like to for the record ask for a
written request for the update on the Quagga mussel research,
which is very impactful in many of the entities that have to
fight and pay millions of dollars to clean off their intake
valves, et cetera, and all that good stuff.
Also, for the record, what is the next step in water
recycling follow-through with not only Congress but the Bureau
where basins, water basins are doing power plays to take that
water and eventually increase the cost to the consumer, and
that is something else I would want to cover with you?
But the last one I would want to, Mr. Werkheiser, is the
aquifer have not been mentioned. That is the great concern
because of the ability to be able to store runoff, be able to
reclaim water, recycled water, and clean it to the extent that
it will meld with good water if the aquifer is in good shape.
So, I would like to have some input on how we can be able
to identify, especially in areas that have high drought, or
areas that have high runoff from the snow pack melt so they can
capture some of it for later use.
Mr. Werkheiser. I think there are a number of what we would
call aquifer and storage recovery projects where we take water
during plentiful times, inject it into the aquifer for then
reuse or use later on during times of low water available or
drought. Those studies are pretty site-specific. Aquifers are
different in their properties to be able to take in water and
store it, so I think the last thing we want to do is to put in
water that we can no longer retrieve. So, we have to be careful
about how we identify those, so it is a pretty site-specific
analysis that we do, but we do have a number of those studies
going on. Many of them in California as a matter of fact.
Mrs. Napolitano. Well, there is a big issue in my area
because some of the cities are beginning to fight over whose
water it is, and somewhere we need to be able to help the state
determine how does a state allow for the pumping and not
overdrafting of the areas, and so those are real critical.
But I have recently talked to somebody that said that they
thought their aquifer was not capable of being able to take in
any recharge, and we need to be able to help them understand
whether that is true or not, and how they can help themselves
and help them build that infrastructure to be able to do that
Commissioner, the last question I have for you is, what is
Reclamation focusing on or engaged in where it is not only your
mission but creates jobs, and I know you touched lightly upon
it? Can you expound a little more?
Mr. Connor. Well, I think job creation activity is on many
levels, but first I would just like to reiterate that I view
one of our primary goals as sustaining jobs. We have a lot of
economies that are dependent upon the water and power
resources, and so we are very cognizant of that, and will
continue to try and make our contractual commitments to take
care of those economies whether independent or dependent upon
In the midst of that we have very active construction
programs in place all throughout the West, whether it is taking
care of our existing infrastructure or developing new water
projects, particularly those in Indian country.
Mrs. Napolitano. Are you requiring them--I am sorry to
interrupt, my time is running out--is providing to this body
how many jobs are being created by not only the projects but
ancillary to those?
Mr. Connor. We don't have specific figures. We have had
general figures about the impact of Recovery Act, the $950
million investment that we have made in the expected creation
of approximately 10,300 jobs based on the criteria that have
been identified for us. That is really related to
infrastructure development. There are different figures for
coastal restoration, something to the tune of a million dollars
invested will yield 30 jobs. That was part of the Department of
the Interior's report in 2009. Recreation would be a million
dollars invested yields 22 jobs.
Mrs. Napolitano. But it would be nice to have a----
Mr. McClintock. Time is up on this.
Mrs. Napolitano. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Denham.
Mr. Denham. Thank you. First of all, you had mentioned when
there is a take, the Delta pumps shut down. How do you define a
Mr. Connor. There is ongoing take all the time. We have a
fish salvage facility associated with our Jones Pumping Plant,
Mr. Denham. When you make the determination to shut a pump
down, the take is one fish, 100 fish, how many fish per hour or
per minute? How do you define that?
Mr. Connor. Well, there is an incremental scale based on
month to month right now, and we have not had to shut down the
pumps for awhile even though we are taking tape because we have
not exceeded our take limits that are part of the biological
opinion, so we are permitted to take species under our current
Mr. Denham. What is the take limit?
Mr. Connor. The take limit is different for different
months of the year, and I don't know those figures off the top
of my head.
Mr. Denham. OK. And are there sensors at the pump? How do
you know when fish are----
Mr. Connor. Well, actually we collect. There is a
collection facility at the pumping station so we can actually
track how many fish we are actually taking, and the biological
opinion has a formula for projecting how many fish that we are
not being able to capture that are being taken, and that is the
basis upon which if we exceed a certain figure in a certain
month, then we are in violation of our permit, and we have to
shut the pumps down.
Mr. Denham. So you have a random sample before or after the
Mr. Connor. It is with the pumps, you know. It is
associated with the pumping facility itself. We collect fish in
the water that is coming to the pumps.
Mr. Denham. OK. I find that process very interesting and
subjective, but I will save those questions for a later time.
Specifically on the budget, you have the Mid-Pacific Region
has proposed a new creation of a new Bay-Delta office. I mean,
we are cutting right now, and we are going to set up a new
office, a new bureaucracy. What is this office going to do? How
many employees is it going to have, the job duties?
Mr. Connor. Well, we have a lot of issues associated with
the Bay-Delta, not the least of which is our very active Bay-
Delta Conservation Plan Program, which is intended to look at
the long-term solutions, the California water issues, so we are
just consolidating. We are restructuring. We are not adding new
people for this Bay-Delta area office that we created. We think
it is a more efficient way for us to address the myriad of
issues that we have in California, and from that standpoint the
exact staffing of the office, which is coming from other places
already, I don't know off the top of my head. I am happy to get
that for you for the record.
Mr. Denham. So you can show reductions out of other
Mr. Connor. Yes, we are moving people from other area
offices associated with the CVP in our operations and
consolidating them to run Bay-Delta, to really focus on that,
so it is an organizational thing. It is not an enlargement of
the Bureau's staffing.
Mr. Denham. Thank you. Just one final question. Earlier I
had asked about the 130 to 200 percent of snowfall that we are
seeing right now. Obviously, we have a huge snow pack right
now. Mother Nature heats up a little too quick, are you
planning for the loss of water? What type of planning do you go
through, and how do you work with FEMA on that?
Mr. Connor. Well, we are constantly monitoring snow pack
and temperature conditions and working with our partners to
assess when we might be in a flood control situation, so really
what has happened early this year it is a constant process. We
have had to evacuate water out of the flood storage areas in
Shasta Dam, and Folsom constantly over this winter, so it is a
constant management process that we undertake right now, and we
have been up to the limits of the channel in the American River
earlier this year. We were very concerned about the possibility
of flooding outside the flood bank, but fortunately we didn't
do that. There was no property damages, et cetera.
So, we are not anticipating right now that we are going to
have a disaster situation. We will certainly be in contact with
FEMA, but it is a constant monitoring of the situation to make
sure that the reservoirs are leaving enough space in them to
deal with any in-flows and temperature increase.
Mr. Denham. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Costa.
Mr. Costa. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. More on
California. I want to commend the Bureau, we have asked you a
lot of questions here, and we have concerns, but on the
consolidation of the Bay-Delta conservation plan effort. As you
know, all of the water users got together last fall and they
were really questioning the Bureau's commitment to this
process. Frankly, without your full participation, and I have
told Secretary Salazar this, and I will reiterate it tomorrow,
this isn't going to work. Our folks are wondering whether or
not they ought to continue to participate, in part based upon
your commitment and all the Federal agencies to make this work.
So the consolidation, notwithstanding budget cuts, I think is
an important statement to that effect.
I want to get back to the question, you know, I represent,
as you know, not only the west side of the San Luis unit, the
exchange contractors, we have a lot of them here today who have
been listening very carefully to every work you have uttered as
it relates to the river settlement agreement, the Friant water
users as well as the state water project down in Kern County.
We have discussed in the settlement agreement so far this
morning about a number of elements, but major channel
improvements are going to have to be built in the next few
years costing tens of millions of dollars. I would like to know
what the status of this project is.
I mentioned earlier in my questioning the feasibility study
that still has not been produced, the program environmental
impact statement that has not been published. We have a host of
projects--let me just list them here because we know we have
the local environmental funding that is a part of the match.
We know we have the state funding, which is $100 billion,
and I don't know where this Federal funding is going to be
coming from. To complete the program environmental impact
statement, we have the Mendota Pool Bypass, that is $74
million. We have Reach 2-B5 improvements, that is $130 million.
We have Reach 4-B6 improvements. That is $40 million. We have
Aroya Canal fish screens, that is $25 million. We have mud in
South Slough Barriers, that is $5 million, and you know, Fish
and Wildlife is off on the other side. I don't know, you guy
aren't talking to each other. Unless you are going to breed
these fish to crawl on sand, you are not going to make this
thing work by 2013 or 2014 unless these channel improvements
are made, unless we are working with folks.
Mr. Connor, or as I would say, Mike, this is a problem.
Mr. Connor. Yes. Well, to answer your question, I think
initially the assessments and the analysis and the EIS that is
going to launch all of this with respect to the channel
improvements, I think, and I am going to correct this on the
record if I get it wrong, is due in the latter part of this
year, and I know we are working expeditiously on that.
Money is an issue to implement----
Mr. Costa. No, I understand but we have to be mindful of
these milestones, these dates, if we are going to make this
thing work, and maybe we need to reset, as we say with our
negotiations with Russia, reset this so the right hand knows
what the left hand is doing, and it is being coordinated in a
way that is going to work.
And in this era of budget cuts, it seems to me that we
ought to look at innovative ways to allow the local agencies to
maybe do some of your work for you. Frankly, they have an
incentive to do it. Second, they can do it in many ways I think
that are more cost effective with the same funding that we
already know has been allocated for this.
The settlement project has two co-equal goals: river
restoration and water management. My colleague congressmen
talked about the efforts on water management and returning that
to the east side. It also provides that no third party will be
impacted as a result of the settlement agreement. I sat in
those negotiations for a period of months with Senator
Feinstein. The third party impacts are a big deal, and your
fiscal year budget really doesn't address, in my view, the
minimizing or the avoidance of losses in terms of the
recirculation plan. I think that needs to be back there front
and center. Everybody ought to be getting healthy together
And while I asked you the questions on what concrete steps
Reclamation is taking to deal with third party impacts where
they have risen, I am not satisfied with the response to far,
Mr. Connor, and where the budget funds are going to be used to
mitigate these impacts, I don't think is here.
Mr. Connor. Well, with respect to recirculated water, that
has been an ongoing activity, and we think we did pretty good.
Mr. Costa. I will give you credit. You did you make some
Let me close because my time is running out here and I will
have to submit the rest of the questions. In the letter I sent
you in September of last year, I noted these concerns and
others and the financing of the San Joaquin River Restoration
Program. I requested a five-year plan that identifies how
Reclamation intends to proceed with the implementation in a
manner that is feasible with current available funding. I have
also requested this report include the avoidance of impacts.
Mr. Connor, to this date we have not seen this plan. We
have yet to see many of the portions of the settlement,
including the interim flows, and we have to do better.
Mr. Connor. We will get you a response very soon.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Gosar.
Dr. Gosar. Mr. Werkheiser, you just made mention a minute
ago to Ms. Napolitano that you have to be very, very careful
with subsurface water, and with that assertion I want to remind
you about Arizona being very differential in the way they look
at surface and subsurface water in those allocations, including
For the past 10 years the USGS Northern Arizona Regional
Groundwater Flow Model has in development in an attempt to
provide basic hydrology frameworks for most of Northern
Arizona's groundwater basins. As you know, rural communities
are almost all totally dependent on groundwater, Prescott,
Prescott Valley, and other municipalities are virtually and
vitally interested in that USGS report.
Late last year the hydrology staff of the City of Prescott,
Prescott Valley, and the officials at Arizona Department of
Water Resources discovered the model was closed to public
release, and there were concerns about the model's scope,
particularly regarding the Big Chino's subbasin and its
relation with the Upper Verdi River.
The concerned parties expressed concern to USGS Arizona
Water Science Center officials about the model scope, potential
for misuse, and advised the USGS on steps that could have been
taken to rectify concerns about the report's content. Despite
these concerns, the officials defended USGS's technical review
process and have continued to take steps toward--ultimately it
to former Congressman John Shadegg and I to officially
intervene with these concerns before we got some rectification
and cooperation with officials.
I am pleased at the current engagement that I believe
ultimately the USGS officials and the local technical experts
will resolve differences, and ensure that this model reflects
the unique geology of the area, historical measurements as
documented by local technicians and accurate assessments of
water falls we will continue to monitor.
However, my concern is, why did it take congressional
intervention to get USGS to involve local entities, such as the
Arizona Department of Water Resources, the Yavapai County Water
Advisory Committee, and the City of Prescott's hydrology staff
in the collection of background data, the initial drafting of
this model, and the peer-to-peer review process?
Groundwater issues are very important to the State of
Arizona and inaccurate models would have potentially grave
consequences to the specific statutory water rights of
Prescott. More importantly, the Big Chino subbasin and more
generally undermine Arizona water law, which could be caused by
such a report if it represents anything less than
scientifically, fully vetted data of the highest quality, or
ineffectively communicates that science to the public.
Given USGS commitment to impartiality and scientific
integrity, wouldn't officials want to engage with local experts
throughout the drafting process on work such as the ground flow
Mr. Werkheiser. Yes, I am familiar with the issue, and
understand the concerns, and I guess what I would say is that
we did look at the technical concerns, and we do have a
provision in our peer review and scientific integrity policy to
allow agencies who might be affected by the results to have a
courtesy copy of the report, and that is what happened in this
I will say that throughout the life of the project there
was a stakeholder group that advised the technical development
of the model. Now, I don't think Prescott was always involved
in that group, and that was probably an error on our part.
So, you know, our take-away message is to make sure we have
everybody at the table as we develop these models, and an
invitation isn't sufficient. Everybody is busy. We need to make
sure they engage in a very appropriate way.
Dr. Gosar. I want to remind you of the implications of
those types of data and that information.
Mr. Connor, I have a brief minute. In regard to the
Chairman's comments about Glen Canyon Dam's release, there is
information being released through the media that some of those
releases actually benefit the humpback chub when they were
detrimental to the humpback chub, and actually increased the
numbers of trout, which eat the humpback chub.
Are you re-evaluating that process anytime soon?
Mr. Connor. The study's process is ever evolving, and the
impact of the native trout population and the chub is something
that we are actually looking at through an environmental
assessment process right now as we try and deal with some of
the issues in non-native management and trying to improve that
process as it impacts also our operation of the facility.
So, the answer to your question is yes, it is constantly
new information that we are looking at in assessing based on
the information we have how to do it better in operations.
Dr. Gosar. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Lujan.
Mr. Lujan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Again, I appreciate the
conversation pertaining to access to clean drinking water, and
making sure that projects all over the country that provide
this basic necessity for human health, for the health of our
agricultural community, both farmers and ranchers, again is
something that we need to be cognitive of.
Last week I believe it was or the week before when we voted
on that budget bill that was proposed by the Majority, there
was an aspect that reduced projects and programmatic funding to
350 ongoing projects to the Army Corps of Engineers and the
Bureau of Reclamation.
So as we sit today and so critical of the Bureau for making
sure that investments are going to benefit people, people will
have access to clean drinking water, and that we are going to
make sure that waste water and sewage does not get into that
drinking water so that way we can provide it to farmers and
producers, and for people to drink is something that we need to
be aware of.
Furthermore, there was a Section 3001, three, zero, zero,
one, that reduced 163 million additional dollars to go to
projects. The American Society of Engineers have given our
locks, dams, and levees D and D minus grades. Reducing the
level of investment in these areas is, as they have stated, a
penny wise and a pound foolish. This is something we have to be
In addition, the Republican bill slashes the Clean Water
and Drinking Water State Resolving Fund by 56 percent, reducing
the number of waste water and drinking water projects in
communities across the country would be able to finance by
So, again, I appreciate that we need to make sure that
things are in balance, but that we have priorities, and that we
find that balance, especially as we talk about access to clean
Commissioner Connor, one of the projects that I wanted to
visit with you about is a project that I know many of my
colleagues, not only current but former, have had a chance to
visit this beautiful area of New Mexico, up in the northern
area there, which borders the Colorado border. It is the
Hickory Apache Reservation, and there is a whole water system
project that was authorized in 2002. Today only 20 percent of
that authorization has come forward and the Hickory Apache
Nation's cost share was $15 million, which they met prior to
the authorization of the project.
Since then the Nation as put together funding that they
have had to take from other areas to try to maintain the
investment that has been made. Because of the exposure to the
system, you can imagine how it would be deteriorated. I don't
have to go back to remind us what the grade of the American
Society of Engineers has given us with some of our water
infrastructure, a D and a D minus so when we make investments
in infrastructure we have to make sure that we are going to put
it in place timely.
So, I would say, Commissioner, I appreciate the current
funding levels that have been placed in the 2011 and 2012
budget the Nation is looking to get consideration for the
reimbursement of that project, but if we stay at the current
levels it is going to take over a century to finish this
project, and I think that we can very much see the exposure to
the structure and the concerns that it has.
Furthermore, in 2010, the Bureau of Reclamation initiated
funding opportunities in connection with the rural water
program. What is the status of that funding and those that were
allocated to this project, and why was funding allocated for
potential development of new rural water projects when existing
authorized projects, such as the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water
Project, have yet to receive any funding? Also, what are your
thoughts pertaining to that in Eastern New Mexico, which is
where we have many farmers, producers, and dairy? Cannon Air
Force Base is also in this area, as well as the Cities of
Clovis and Portales, and they impact the community of Tucumcari
Mr. Connor. Thank you for the question. I am very familiar
personally with the Hickory project and the Eastern New Mexico
rural water system project, and I understand the needs and the
benefits of those projects.
With respect to your question about the funding opportunity
announcement, we had $2.6 million under our rural water program
that we made available to help communities across the West do
an assessment of their needs and identify projects that they
had done some preliminary work on to satisfy those long-term
needs. A lot of these communities out West are dealing with
unsustainable groundwater use or groundwater that has been
impacted from an quality perspective and no longer meet certain
standards, and so they are looking for other alternatives.
So, we think it is part of what we can do to a modest
amount to help those communities identify their alternatives
even as I would concede we have a rural water program and
authorized projects that we have taken a reduction of in this
budget, and it is part of the difficult decisions that we are
having to make with projects that have high value for those
communities and are certainly needed, but we have limited
resources and have to live within those resources, particularly
as we do our part for this overall deficit situation that we
have as a Federal Government.
So, we were happy to make the large investment in rural
water projects. Unfortunately, the two projects you mention, as
a result of the Recovery Act, the $232 million I talked about
before, unfortunately we weren't able to obligate anything for
the two New Mexico projects. It is still an important program
to the Bureau of Reclamation and we have not cut it completely,
and we are going to look for opportunities to try and innovate
some of those projects and move forward with them.
Mr. Lujan. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Labrador?
Mr. Labrador. Mr. Chairman, I am just going to yield my
time to Mr. Denham, the good gentleman from California.
Mr. Denham. Just one final follow-up question, Mr. Connor.
This new office that we are going to have are there also going
to be Fish and Wildlife Service hired for that office?
Mr. Connor. Not brought in directly to the office. We are
trying to do a much better job of coordinate amongst the three
Federal agencies, Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service and
NOAA Fisheries, so we are working and we have provided some
funds under the Central Valley Improvement Act that we have for
Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fishery folks so that we can
be better coordinated in the implementation and the science
behind the biological opinions.
Hiring new Fish and Wildlife Service into that new office,
I don't believe so, but I will check that for the record.
Mr. Denham. Thank you. So again, just restructuring, taking
employees from other office buildings. I am sure you saw this
morning that the President re-committed once again to reducing
the amount of public buildings that we own. We currently have
over 1.2 million buildings, of which 55,000 are underutilized
and another 14,000 are vacant. I would assume that if you are
moving employees into a new GSA office, that you are also going
to be adding properties or buildings to that underutilized
vacant list and help to facilitate selling those properties
Mr. Connor. We are looking very strenuously at any
opportunity to reduce administrative costs within the Bureau of
Reclamation. Our goal, and we recognize we are living in tight
budget times, our goal is to not take those out of programs.
Where we can look for efficiencies, reduce cost, we are going
to do that.
I will give you some quick figures. Bureau of Reclamation
employees, 7,239 in 1993; 5,632 in 2000; 5,750 in 2004; today
our estimate is 5,116. The Bureau of Reclamation is doing more
with less these days.
Mr. Denham. Thank you. Specifically, I assume that you are
not going to go out and build new office space. You are going
to work with GSA to utilize one of their underutilized
properties. Which properties are you going to then be either
renting out, leasing out, or vacating so that we can sell them?
Mr. Connor. We will get you an answer on that point.
Mr. Denham. Thank you.
Mr. McClintock. Mr. Garamendi.
Mr. Garamendi. Mr. Connor, in your testimony awhile back
you mentioned the release of water from Folsom Reservoir, flood
flow release. My question goes to both you and Mr. Werkheiser
about the way in which we manage our reservoirs. As I
understand it, our reservoirs are managed for both flood
control purposes as well as for water storage, but based upon a
historic average rainfall, snowfall, snow pack and the like,
based upon the last 40-50 years, in other words, controlled by
the Corps of Engineers book.
Mr. Connor. Right.
Mr. Garamendi. On the American River we established a
program about four years ago in which we would try to institute
a real time monitoring system, one that would measure the
precipitation on a real time basis, the snow, the content, the
water content of the snow, the temperature of the snow using
satellite as well as ground sensing devices for the purposes of
trying to maximize both the flood storage and the water storage
simultaneously; that is, using real time.
I would like to have an update on the status of that
project. It seemed to have been on in which all of the water
interest on the American River were involved; certainly the two
of you, or your two agencies as well as the Corps of Engineers,
state, and Sacramento Municipal Utility Districts.
I don't need the answer right now but I would like an
update on that, and if it were to work, it could then be used
in other basins, again to maximize both flood potential and
water storage. If you could deliver that to me in the near
future, I would appreciate it.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time.
Mr. McClintock. And with that I would like to thank our
witnesses for their testimony today. Members of the
Subcommittee might have additional questions for the witnesses.
We would ask that they respond to these in writing. The hearing
record will be open for 10 days to receive these responses. If
there is no further business, without objection, the
Subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:18 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]