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                                                       Calendar No. 849
106th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     106-427

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



 
                   MANCOS WATER CONSERVANCY DISTRICT

                                _______
                                

  September 28 (legislative day, September 22), 2000.--Ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2594]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 2594) to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to contract with the Mancos Water Conservancy District 
to use the Mancos Project facilities for impounding, storage, 
diverting, and carriage of nonproject water for the purpose of 
irrigation, domestic, municipal, industrial, and any other 
beneficial purposes, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommends that the 
bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    On page 3, line 18, strike all of subsection (c).

                         purpose of the measure

    The purpose of S. 2594 is to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to enter into Warren Act contracts with the Mancos 
Water Conservancy District in Colorado to use the Mancos 
Project facilities for impounding, storage, diverting, and 
carriage of nonproject water for the purpose of irrigation, 
domestic, municipal, industrial, and any other beneficial 
purposes.

                          background and need

    Many federally authorized projects have the ability to use 
project reservoirs, canals, and ditches for the purpose of 
impounding, delivering, or carrying non-project waters for the 
purpose of irrigation and other beneficial uses. The Bureau of 
Reclamation is authorized by the Warren Act of 1911 (36 Stat. 
925) or section 305 of the Reclamation States Emergency Drought 
Relief Act of 1991 (P.L. 102-250) to make such excess 
facilities capacity available to third parties. In 1998, the 
Department of the Interior determined that projects constructed 
by the Bureau pursuant to the Water Conservation and 
Utilization Act of 1939 (WCUA) do not have the authority to use 
the project resources for this purpose. Contracts for use of 
excess capacity in WCUA projects which existed as of November 
2, 1998 continued in full force and effect until they expired. 
Such contracts could not be extended by amendment.
    The Mancos Project, established in 1941 and completed in 
1949, was authorized by the WCUA and provides supplemental 
irrigation water for the Mancos Valley. Since 1968, the 
District has operated under contract to carry non-project water 
through the Project and the carriage of such water has become a 
normal operational procedure. The District currently has long-
term contracts in place for the conveyance of non-project water 
for irrigation which were contracted before 1992. Short-term 
contracts for conveyance were recently denied renewal and it is 
anticipated that long-term contracts will be denied at their 
expiration.
    The carriage of non-project water provides a substantial 
benefit to the Mancos Project by allowing for a constant flow 
in the canals and reservoir, thus eliminating the minimum flow 
problem on outlet works. Lack of non-project carriage would 
diminish the purpose and functionality of the Project and 
decrease its historic benefit to the Mancos Valley.

                          legislative history

    S. 2594 was introduced by Senator Allard on May 18, 2000. 
The Subcommittee on Water and Power held a hearing on the bill 
on June 21, 2000. At the business meeting on September 20, 
2000, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 
2594, as amended, favorably reported.

            committee recommendation and tabulation of votes

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on September 20, 2000, by a unanimous voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 
2594, if amended as described herein.

                          committee amendment

    During the consideration of S. 2594, the Committee adopted 
an amendment to strike subsection (c), which provided that 
funds received by the United States would be available for 
expenditure for project O&M.; This subsection also provided that 
funds received by the United States, in excess of the amount 
needed for O&M;, would be applied against project repayment.

                   cost and budgetary considerations

    The Congressional Budget Office estimate of the costs of 
this measure has been requested but was not received at the 
time the report was filed. When the report is available, the 
Chairman will request it to be printed in the Congressional 
Record for the advice of the Senate.

                      regulatory impact evaluation

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 2594. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 2594, as ordered reported.

                        executive communications

    On June 16, 2000, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of 
the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget setting 
forth Executive agency recommendations on S. 2594. These 
reports had not been received at the time the report on S. 2594 
was filed. When the reports become available, the Chairman will 
request that they be printed in the Congressional Record for 
the advice of the Senate. The testimony provided by the 
Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation at the Subcommittee 
hearing follows:

  Statement of Eluid L. Martinez, Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation

    Thank you for the opportunity to present the Department's 
views on S. 2594. This bill would authorize the Secretary of 
the Interior to contract with the Mancos Water Conservancy 
District (District) to use excess capacity in the Mancos 
Project in Colorado to impound, store, divert or carry 
nonproject water for a variety of purposes. Irrigators who 
benefit from the Mancos Project in Western Colorado have been 
working to encourage efficient water management on project 
lands. One means to manage water more efficiently is to allow 
flexible use of project facilities, so that facilities can be 
used to transport privately owned or adjudicated water as well 
as project water for irrigation and other purposes. However, 
because the Mancos Project was authorized under the Water 
Conservation and Utilization Act, currently it lacks authority 
to carry any non-project water. The Administration could 
support S. 2594 if amended to address four concerns.
    First, Section 1(c)(1) allows funds that the United States 
would receive as payment for the use of its facilities under 
this bill to be made available for operation and maintenance, 
without further appropriation of Congress. The Department 
opposes this provision. The language could mandate direct 
spending and should be deleted from the bill.
    Second, in the event, there is a carriage of nonproject 
water for municipal and industrial or domestic uses, the 
carrying charge should include an interest component. Language 
should be inserted in Section 1(a)(3) to accommodate this 
concern.
    Third, Section 1(c)(2) should be deleted. Under this 
provision, any funds the United States were to receive under 
Subsection (a) that were excess to that needed for operation 
and maintenance would be credited against the District's 
repayment obligation, a benefit not available to other 
districts that have contracts with Reclamation for the carriage 
of non-project water.
    Fourth, in keeping with Administration policy, S. 1852 
should be amended to make clear that the District shall 
reimburse Reclamation for the full cost of using Reclamation 
facilities. Whether at Water Conservation and Utilization Act 
(WCUA) projects, such as the Mancos Project, or at projects 
authorized under Reclamation law, the Department generally 
supports efforts such as this proposal, to enable the use of 
excess capacity conveyance of non project water, as long as the 
United States is reimbursed for the full cost of using its 
facilities. Efforts to allow Reclamation to accommodate non-
project water for multiple purposes at Reclamation as well as 
WCUA projects could increase the efficiency of existing 
facilities and provide additional flexibility to meet water 
supply needs.
    Thank you for the opportunity to testify. I would be 
pleased to answer any questions you may have.

                        changes in existing law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill, S. 2594, as 
ordered reported.