[United States Statutes at Large, Volume 120, 109th Congress, 2nd Session]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

120 STAT. 3328

Public Law 109-448
109th Congress

An Act

To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to cooperate with the States
on the border with Mexico and other appropriate entities in conducting a
hydrogeologic characterization, mapping, and modeling program for
priority transboundary aquifers, and for other purposes.  NOTE: Dec.
22, 2006 -  [S. 214]

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,  NOTE: United States-
Mexico Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Act.

SECTION 1.  NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.  SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``United States-Mexico Transboundary
Aquifer Assessment Act''.

SEC. 2.  NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.  PURPOSE.

The purpose of this Act is to direct the Secretary of the Interior
to establish a United States-Mexico transboundary aquifer assessment
program to systematically assess priority transboundary aquifers.

SEC. 3.  NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.   DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:
(1) Aquifer.--The term ``aquifer'' means a subsurface water-
bearing geologic formation from which significant quantities of
water may be extracted.
(2) IBWC.--The term ``IBWC'' means the International
Boundary and Water Commission, an agency of the Department of
(3) Indian tribe.--The term ``Indian tribe'' means an Indian
tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community--
(A) that is recognized as eligible for the special
programs and services provided by the United States to
Indians because of their status as Indians; and
(B) the reservation of which includes a
transboundary aquifer within the exterior boundaries of
the reservation.
(4) Participating state.--The term ``Participating State''
means each of the States of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
(5) Priority transboundary aquifer.--The term ``priority
transboundary aquifer'' means a transboundary aquifer that has
been designated for study and analysis under the program.
(6) Program.--The term ``program'' means the United States-
Mexico transboundary aquifer assessment program established
under section 4(a).
(7) Reservation.--The term ``reservation'' means land that
has been set aside or that has been acknowledged as having been
set aside by the United States for the use of an Indian

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120 STAT. 3329

tribe, the exterior boundaries of which are more particularly
defined in a final tribal treaty, agreement, executive order,
Federal statute, secretarial order, or judicial determination.
(8) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary
of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United
States Geological Survey.
(9) Transboundary aquifer.--The term ``transboundary
aquifer'' means an aquifer that underlies the boundary between a
Participating State and Mexico.
(10) Tri-regional planning group.--The term ``Tri-Regional
Planning Group'' means the binational planning group comprised
(A) the Junta Municipal de Agua y Saneamiento de
Ciudad Juarez;
(B) the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service
Board; and
(C) the Lower Rio Grande Water Users Organization.
(11) Water resources research institutes.--The term ``water
resources research institutes'' means the institutes within the
Participating States established under section 104 of the Water
Resources Research Act of 1984 (42 U.S.C. 10303).


(a) In General.--The Secretary, in consultation and cooperation with
the Participating States, the water resources research institutes,
Sandia National Laboratories, and other appropriate entities in the
United States and Mexico, and the IBWC, as appropriate, shall carry out
the United States-Mexico transboundary aquifer assessment program to
characterize, map, and model priority transboundary aquifers along the
United States-Mexico border at a level of detail determined to be
appropriate for the particular aquifer.
(b) Objectives.--The objectives of the program are to--
(1) develop and implement an integrated scientific approach
to identify and assess priority transboundary aquifers,
(A) for purposes of subsection (c)(2), specifying
priority transboundary aquifers for further analysis by
(i) the proximity of a proposed priority
transboundary aquifer to areas of high population
(ii) the extent to which a proposed priority
transboundary aquifer would be used;
(iii) the susceptibility of a proposed
priority transboundary aquifer to contamination;
(iv) any other relevant criteria;
(B) evaluating all available data and publications
as part of the development of study plans for each
priority transboundary aquifer;
(C) creating a new, or enhancing an existing,
geographic information system database to characterize
the spatial and temporal aspects of each priority
transboundary aquifer; and
(D) using field studies, including support for and
expansion of ongoing monitoring and metering efforts, to

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120 STAT. 3330

(i) the additional data necessary to
adequately define aquifer characteristics; and
(ii) scientifically sound groundwater flow
models to assist with State and local water
management and administration, including modeling
of relevant groundwater and surface water
(2) consider the expansion or modification of existing
agreements, as appropriate, between the United States Geological
Survey, the Participating States, the water resources research
institutes, and appropriate authorities in the United States and
Mexico, to--
(A) conduct joint scientific investigations;
(B) archive and share relevant data; and
(C) carry out any other activities consistent with
the program; and
(3) produce scientific products for each priority
transboundary aquifer that--
(A) are capable of being broadly distributed; and
(B) provide the scientific information needed by
water managers and natural resource agencies on both
sides of the United States-Mexico border to effectively
accomplish the missions of the managers and agencies.

(c) Designation of Priority Transboundary Aquifers.--
(1) In general.--For purposes of the program, the Secretary
shall designate as priority transboundary aquifers--
(A) the Hueco Bolson and Mesilla aquifers underlying
parts of Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico;
(B) the Santa Cruz River Valley aquifers underlying
Arizona and Sonora, Mexico; and
(C) the San Pedro aquifers underlying Arizona and
Sonora, Mexico.
(2) Additional aquifers.--The Secretary may, using the
criteria under subsection (b)(1)(A), evaluate and designate
additional priority transboundary aquifers which underlie New
Mexico or Texas.

(d) Cooperation With Mexico.--To ensure a comprehensive assessment
of priority transboundary aquifers, the Secretary shall, to the maximum
extent practicable, work with appropriate Federal agencies and other
organizations to develop partnerships with, and receive input from,
relevant organizations in Mexico to carry out the program.
(e) Grants and Cooperative Agreements.--The Secretary may provide
grants or enter into cooperative agreements and other agreements with
the water resources research institutes and other Participating State
entities to carry out the program.


(a) Coordination With States, Tribes, and Other Entities.--The
Secretary shall coordinate the activities carried out under the program
(1) the appropriate water resource agencies in the
Participating States;
(2) any affected Indian tribes;
(3) any other appropriate entities that are conducting
monitoring and metering activity with respect to a priority
transboundary aquifer; and
(4) the IBWC, as appropriate.

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120 STAT. 3331

(b) New Activity.--After the date of enactment of this Act, the
Secretary shall not initiate any new field studies or analyses under the
program before consulting with, and coordinating the activity with, any
Participating State water resource agencies that have jurisdiction over
the aquifer.
(c) Study Plans; Cost Estimates.--
(1) In general.--The Secretary shall work closely with
appropriate Participating State water resource agencies, water
resources research institutes, and other relevant entities to
develop a study plan, timeline, and cost estimate for each
priority transboundary aquifer to be studied under the program.
(2) Requirements.--A study plan developed under paragraph
(1) shall, to the maximum extent practicable--
(A) integrate existing data collection and analyses
conducted with respect to the priority transboundary
(B) if applicable, improve and strengthen existing
groundwater flow models developed for the priority
transboundary aquifer; and
(C) be consistent with appropriate State guidelines
and goals.

SEC. 6.  NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.  EFFECT.

(a) In General.--Nothing in this Act affects--
(1) the jurisdiction or responsibility of a Participating
State with respect to managing surface or groundwater resources
in the Participating State;
(2) the water rights of any person or entity using water
from a transboundary aquifer; or
(3) State water law, or an interstate compact or
international treaty governing water.

(b) Treaty.--Nothing in this Act shall delay or alter the
implementation or operation of any works constructed, modified,
acquired, or used within the territorial limits of the United States
relating to the waters governed by the Treaty Between the United States
and Mexico Regarding Utilization of Waters of the Colorado and Tijuana
Rivers and of the Rio Grande, Treaty Series 994 (59 Stat. 1219).

SEC. 7.  NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.  REPORTS.

Not later than 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act, and
on completion of the program in fiscal year 2016, the Secretary shall
submit to the appropriate water resource agency in the Participating
States, an interim and final report, respectively, that describes--
(1) any activities carried out under the program;
(2) any conclusions of the Secretary relating to the status
of priority transboundary aquifers; and
(3) the level of participation in the program of entities in


(a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry
out this Act $50,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2007 through
(b) Distribution of Funds.--Of the amounts made available under
subsection (a), 50 percent shall be made available to the water
resources research institutes to provide funding to appropriate entities
in the Participating States (including Sandia

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120 STAT. 3332

National Laboratories, State agencies, universities, the Tri-Regional
Planning Group, and other relevant organizations) and to implement
cooperative agreements entered into with appropriate entities in Mexico
to conduct specific authorized activities in furtherance of the program,
including the binational collection and exchange of scientific data.
(c) Criteria.--Funding provided to an appropriate entity in Mexico
pursuant to subsection (b) shall be contingent on that entity providing
50 percent of the necessary resources (including in-kind services) to
further assist in carrying out the authorized activity.

SEC. 9.  NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.  SUNSET OF AUTHORITY.

The authority of the Secretary to carry out any provisions of this
Act shall terminate 10 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

Approved December 22, 2006.


SENATE REPORTS: No. 109-17 (Comm. on Energy and Natural Resources).
Vol. 151 (2005):
July 26, considered and passed
Vol. 152 (2006):
Dec. 6, considered and passed House,
Dec. 8, Senate concurred in House