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109th Congress Rept. 109-297
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session Part 1
TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO CONSTRUCT FACILITIES TO
PROVIDE WATER FOR IRRIGATION, MUNICIPAL, DOMESTIC, MILITARY, AND OTHER
USES FROM THE SANTA MARGARITA RIVER, CALIFORNIA, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
November 16, 2005.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Pombo, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 125]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill
(H.R. 125) to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to
construct facilities to provide water for irrigation,
municipal, domestic, military, and other uses from the Santa
Margarita River, California, and for other purposes, having
considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
The amendment is as follows:
Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the
SECTION 1. DEFINITIONS.
For the purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) District.--The term ``District'' means the Fallbrook
Public Utility District, San Diego County, California.
(2) Project.--The term ``Project'' means the impoundment,
recharge, treatment, and other facilities the construction,
operation, and maintenance of which is authorized under
SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR CONSTRUCTION OF LOWER SANTA MARGARITA
CONJUNCTIVE USE PROJECT.
(a) Authorization.--The Secretary, acting pursuant to the Federal
reclamation laws (Act of June 17, 1902; 32 Stat. 388), and Acts
amendatory thereof or supplementary thereto, as far as those laws are
not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, is authorized to
construct, operate, and maintain the Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use
Project substantially in accordance with the final feasibility report
and this Act.
(b) Conditions.--The Secretary of the Interior may construct the
Project only after the Secretary of the Interior determines that the
following conditions have occurred:
(1) The District has entered into a contract under section
9(d) of the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 to repay to the
United States appropriate portions, as determined by the
Secretary, of the actual costs of constructing, operating, and
maintaining the Project, together with interest as hereinafter
(2) The officer or agency of the State of California
authorized by law to grant permits for the appropriation of
water has granted such permits to the Bureau of Reclamation for
the benefit of the Department of the Navy and the District as
permittees for rights to the use of water for storage and
diversion as provided in this Act, including approval of all
requisite changes in points of diversion and storage, and
purposes and places of use.
(3) The District has agreed that it will not assert against
the United States any prior appropriative right the District
may have to water in excess of the quantity deliverable to it
under this Act, and will share in the use of the waters
impounded by the Project on the basis of equal priority and in
accordance with the ratio prescribed in section 4(b). This
agreement and waiver and the changes in points of diversion and
storage under paragraph (2), shall become effective and binding
only when the Project has been completed and put into
(4) The Secretary of the Interior has determined that the
Project has economic, environmental, and engineering
SEC. 3. COSTS.
The Department of the Navy shall not be responsible for any costs in
connection with the Project, except upon completion and then shall be
charged in reasonable proportion to its use of the Project under
regulations agreed upon by the Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of
SEC. 4. OPERATION; YIELD ALLOTMENT; DELIVERY.
(a) Operation.--The operation of the Project may be by the Secretary
of the Interior or otherwise as agreed upon by the Secretaries of the
Interior and the Navy and the District, under regulations satisfactory
to the Secretary of the Navy with respect to the Navy's share of the
impounded water and national security.
(b) Yield Allotment.--Except as otherwise agreed between the parties,
the Department of the Navy and the District shall participate in the
water impounded by the Project on the basis of equal priority and in
accordance with the following ratio:
(1) 60 percent of the Project's yield is allotted to the
Secretary of the Navy.
(2) 40 percent of the Project's yield is allotted to the
(c) Contracts for Delivery of Water.--
(1) In general.--If the Secretary of the Navy certifies that
the Department of the Navy does not have immediate need for any
portion of the 60 percent yield allotted under subsection (b),
the official agreed upon to administer the Project may enter
into temporary contracts for the delivery of the excess water.
(2) First right for excess water.--The first right of the
Secretary of the Navy to demand that water without charge and
without obligation on the part of the United States after 30
days notice shall be included as a condition of contracts
entered into under this subsection. The first right to water
available under paragraph (1) shall be given the District, if
otherwise consistent with the laws of the State of California.
(3) Disposition of funds.--Moneys paid to the United States
under a contract under this subsection shall be covered into
the general Treasury or to the Secretary of the Navy, as
services in lieu of payment for operation and maintenance of
the Project, and shall not be applied against the indebtedness
of the District to the United States.
(4) Modification of rights and obligations related to water
yield.--The rights and obligations of the United States and the
District regarding the ratio or amounts of Project yield
delivered may be modified by an agreement between the parties.
SEC. 5. REPAYMENT OBLIGATION OF THE DISTRICT.
(a) In General.--The general repayment obligation of the District
shall be determined by the Secretary of the Interior consistent with
the Water Supply Act of 1958; provided, however, that for the purposes
of calculating interest and determining the time when the District's
repayment obligation to the United States commences, the pumping and
treatment of groundwater from the Project shall be deemed equivalent to
the first use of water from a water storage project.
(b) Modification of Rights and Obligation by Agreement.--The rights
and obligations of the United States and the District regarding the
repayment obligation of the District may be modified by an agreement
between the parties.
SEC. 6. TRANSFER OF CARE, OPERATION, AND MAINTENANCE.
The Secretary may transfer to the District, or a mutually agreed upon
third party, the care, operation, and maintenance of the Project under
conditions satisfactory to that Secretary and the District, and with
respect to the portion of the Project that is located within the
boundaries of Camp Pendleton, satisfactory also to the Secretary of the
Navy. If such a transfer takes place, the District shall be entitled to
an equitable credit for the costs associated with the Secretary's
proportionate share of the operation and maintenance of the Project.
The amount of such costs shall be applied against the indebtedness of
the District to the United States.
SEC. 7. SCOPE OF ACT.
For the purpose of this Act, the basis, measure, and limit of all
rights of the United States pertaining to the use of water shall be the
laws of the State of California. That nothing in this Act shall be
(1) as a grant or a relinquishment by the United States of
any rights to the use of water that it acquired according to
the laws of the State of California, either as a result of its
acquisition of the lands comprising Camp Joseph H. Pendleton
and adjoining naval installations, and the rights to the use of
water as a part of that acquisition, or through actual use or
prescription or both since the date of that acquisition, if
(2) to create any legal obligation to store any water in the
Project, to the use of which the United States has such rights;
(3) to constitute a recognition of, or an admission that, the
District has any rights to the use of water in the Santa
Margarita River, which rights, if any, exist only by virtue of
the laws of the State of California; or
(4) to require the division under this Act of water to which
the United States has such rights.
SEC. 8. LIMITATIONS ON OPERATION AND ADMINISTRATION.
Unless otherwise agreed by the Secretary of the Navy, the Project--
(1) shall be operated in a manner which allows the free
passage of all of the water to the use of which the United
States is entitled according to the laws of the State of
California either as a result of its acquisition of the lands
comprising Camp Joseph H. Pendleton and adjoining naval
installations, and the rights to the use of water as a part of
those acquisitions, or through actual use or prescription, or
both, since the date of that acquisition, if any; and
(2) shall not be administered or operated in any way which
will impair or deplete the quantities of water the use of which
the United States would be entitled under the laws of the State
of California had the Project not been built.
SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
There is authorized to be appropriated, out of any money in the
Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, the
(1) $60,000,000 (the current estimated construction cost of
the Project, plus or minus such amounts as may be indicated by
the engineering cost indices for this type of construction);
(2) such sums as may be required to operate and maintain the
SEC. 10. REPORTS TO CONGRESS.
Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act and
periodically thereafter, the Secretary of the Interior and the
Secretary of the Navy shall each report to the Congress regarding if
the conditions specified in section 2(b) have been met and if so, the
details of how they were met.
SEC. 11. SUNSET.
The authority of the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of
the Navy to carry out any provision of this Act shall terminate 10
years after the date of enactment of this Act.
PURPOSE OF THE BILL
The purpose of H.R. 125, as amended, is to authorize the
Secretary of the Interior to construct facilities to provide
water for irrigation, municipal, domestic, military, and other
uses from the Santa Margarita River, California, and for other
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
During the early 1900s, agriculture and ranching developed
in the upper Santa Margarita River basin using water diverted
from the Santa Margarita River and water extracted from wells
near the river. By 1940, base flow in the river had been
reduced to such an extent that water users in the lower basin
filed a lawsuit against water users in the upper basin. The
result of this lawsuit was the ``1940 Stipulated Judgment,''
which partitioned water between the upper basin and the lower
basin. Since then, three other major lawsuits over rights to
this water have taken place, and three planned water supply
projects have failed to resolve the conflicts.
The most recent of these projects, the Santa Margarita
Project, was to use federal money to develop a two dam and
reservoir project on the river for the benefit of Fallbrook
Public Utility District and the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp
Pendleton. The estimated cost of the project was $22 million in
1954 dollars, or $254 million in today's dollars. The effort to
implement this project stalled in 1984 after almost twenty two
years of study and significant state and federal agency
The lack of adequate water supply poses a serious problem
for water users in the Santa Margarita River basin.
Urbanization, especially since 1970, has transformed this area
in San Diego County from large ranches to tract homes. In the
lower basin, the modest agricultural use of land and water,
primarily for citrus and avocado trees, has stayed relatively
constant. The creation of Camp Pendleton Marine Base, which
covers most of the lower basin, added a relatively small,
constant demand for water for base operations. Camp Pendleton
officials, however, are concerned that future water demands in
the lower basin could be significantly greater to support a
major military mobilization or to provide adequate habitat for
An issue in the project is three water right permits held
by Bureau of Reclamation totaling 185,000 acre-feet \1\ on the
Santa Margarita River. These permits were intended for surface
water impoundment that, at one time, Reclamation was proposing
to develop. Under California law, these permits must be
perfected (be put to beneficial use) by December 31, 2008 or
the water rights may be lost.
\1\ One acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons of water.
The proposed Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project
authorized by this bill provides for enhanced recharge and
recovery from the underground basin on Camp Pendleton to
provide a water supply for both Camp Pendleton and the
Fallbrook Public Utility District (the District), as resolution
of the long-standing water rights disputes between the United
States and the District. The project, as proposed, will develop
16,000 acre-feet, including Camp Pendleton's existing perfected
water rights on the Santa Margarita River. As envisioned by the
bill, 9,600 acre-feet would be used by Camp Pendleton and 6,400
acre-feet by the District. An ongoing feasibility study being
conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation is evaluating a
reasonable range of project alternatives to develop the water
The project will provide a safe, reliable, drought- and
earthquake-proof water supply--enough for 35,000 families. The
project would improve and partially privatize the water supply
system on Camp Pendleton, which will receive better-quality
water in quantities sufficient to meet water needs up to its
ultimate planned utilization. The project also sets aside and
preserves valuable riparian and upland habitats of one of the
last free flowing rivers in California, using 1,384 acres
originally purchased for a dam and reservoir.
The proposed project includes the construction of enhanced
recharge facilities that contain a new collapsible diversion
weir and 46 acres of new recharge ponds. The enhanced recharge
potential is 14,000 acre-feet per year (af/yr), in addition to
the naturally occurring recharge. The collapsible weir will
divert flows, facilitate transport of sediments to the lower
river and estuary, and provide beach replenishment. The project
will also include the construction of eight or more new
production wells, monitoring wells, and a collection system to
provide a total of 18,000 af/yr of extraction capability. The
project water will be distributed to the existing Camp
Pendleton and the District distribution systems through
construction of two pump stations and approximately thirteen
miles of transmission pipeline. The pipeline will also connect
Camp Pendleton to the regional water delivery system for
emergency supply purposes.
Major activities taking place in preparation for project
implementation include a prefeasibility study recently
completed by the Bureau of Reclamation for a joint feasibility
study and Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact
Statement under the California Environmental Quality Act and
the National Environmental Policy Act. Funding for this effort
comes from several federal sources, including Camp Pendleton,
Military Construction, and a Reclamation Planning account, as
well as local funding contributed by the Fallbrook Public
A similar bill, H.R. 4389, was passed by the House of
Representatives in the 108th Congress.
H.R. 125 was introduced on January 4, 2005, by Congressman
Darrell Issa (R-CA). The bill was referred to the Committee on
Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee on
Water and Power. The bill was also additionally referred to the
Committee on Armed Services. On May 18, 2005, the Full
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee
on Water and Power was discharged from further consideration of
the bill by unanimous consent. Congressman George Radanovich
(R-CA) offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute. It
was adopted by unanimous consent. The bill was then ordered
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous
Section 1. Definitions
This section defines various terms in the bill.
Section 2. Authorization for construction of Lower Santa Margarita
Conjunctive Use Project
This section authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to
construct, operate, and maintain the Lower Santa Margarita
Conjunctive Use Project for the Fallbrook Public Utility
District subject to conditions. The Secretary may construct the
project only after: (1) the District has entered into a
repayment contract with the federal government; (2) the State
of California has granted permits for the appropriation of
water to the Bureau of Reclamation; (3) the District has agreed
that it will not assert any prior appropriated water right in
excess of the water developed by this project and that it will
share in the use of the project water supply according to the
project yieldallotment prescribed in this Act; and (4) the
Secretary has determined that the project has economic and engineering
It is the intent of the Committee that all environmental
and regulatory permits will be in place prior to initiating
project development. The Bureau of Reclamation is expected to
complete its feasibility investigation and environmental impact
analysis in 2006.
Section 3. Costs
The Department of the Navy will not be responsible for
project costs until the project is complete. It will then be
responsible to pay project costs in proportion to its use of
Section 4. Operation; yield allotment; delivery
The Secretary of the Interior will operate the project.
Sixty percent of the project water supply is allotted to the
Navy and 40 percent is allotted to the District, on an equal
priority basis. Temporary water delivery contracts may be
entered into for any unused portion of the Navy's allocation;
the District is given first right to this water. Moneys paid to
the United States under the temporary water contracts shall not
be applied to the District's project repayment obligations.
Section 5. Repayment obligation of the District
The District's repayment obligation will be consistent with
the Water Supply Act of 1958. For purposes of calculating
interest and commencing repayment, pumping and treatment of
groundwater from the project will be deemed equivalent to the
first use of water from a water storage project.
Section 6. Transfer of care, operation, and maintenance
The Secretary of the Interior may transfer the operation
and maintenance of the project to the District or a third party
under conditions satisfactory to all parties, including the
Secretary of the Navy for the portion of the project located
within Camp Pendleton. If a transfer occurs, the District will
be credited for costs associated with the Secretary's share of
the project's operation and maintenance.
Section 7. Scope of Act
The right to divert and use water by the United States will
be as permitted and protected by laws of the State of
California. The intent of the legislation is to recognize the
soon-to-be completed Santa Margarita River water right
adjudication by the State of California and the ``1940
Stipulated Judgment'' which apportions water between the upper
and lower Santa Margarita River users. Nothing in this
legislation is intended to affect the water quality, water
rights or the water rights claims of any Indian tribe, band or
community located within the Santa Margarita River watershed,
or of the United States acting on their behalf.
Section 8. Limitations on operation and administration
The project will be operated to allow free passage, and
will not be administered or operated in any way that would
impair or deplete use, of water the United States is entitled
to use under California law.
Section 9. Authorizations of appropriations
The bill authorizes an appropriation of $60 million for the
planning, design, and construction of project facilities and
additional sums as necessary for project operation and
Section 10. Reports to Congress
The Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of the Navy
will report to Congress, within one year of passage of this Act
and periodically thereafter, on whether and/or how conditions
for construction of the project have been met.
Section 11. Sunset
The authority of this Act will terminate 10 years after
COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee on Resources' oversight findings and recommendations
are reflected in the body of this report.
CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT
Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.
COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII
1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B)
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2)
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in tax
expenditures. According to the Congressional Budget Office,
enactment of this bill could result in an increase in
offsetting receipts to the federal treasury of approximately $2
million a year for 40 years beginning in 2011.
3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or
objective of this bill is to authorize the Secretary of the
Interior to construct, operate, and maintain facilities to
provide water from the Santa Margarita River, California, for
municipal, domestic, military, and other uses and for other
4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget
H.R. 125--A bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to
construct facilities to provide water for irrigation,
municipal, domestic, military, and other uses from the Santa
Margarita River, California, and for other purposes
Summary: H.R. 125 would authorize the Secretary of the
Interior to participate in the design, planning, and
construction of facilities to make water available from the
Santa Margarita River for domestic and military uses. The act
would authorize the appropriation of $60 million to build the
project and such sums as are necessary to operate and maintain
it. H.R. 125 would terminate the authority for this project 10
years after the date of enactment of this legislation.
Assuming appropriation of the necessary funds, CBO
estimates that implementing H.R. 125 would cost $55 million
over the 2006-2010 period and an additional $9 million after
that period, including adjustments for anticipated inflation.
If funds were appropriated to implement this legislation, there
would be an increase of offsetting receipts to the federal
government of about $2 million a year for 40 years starting in
2011. (Such offsetting receipts are a credit against direct
spending.) Assuming funds are appropriated to build this
project, local users would be required to repay about 40
percent of construction costs.
H.R. 125 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal
Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated
budgetary impact of H.R. 125 is shown in the following table.
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300
(natural resources and environment).
By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Estimated Authorization Level............................. 0 6 19 19 20 0
Estimated Outlays......................................... 0 4 14 17 20 7
Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R.
125 will be enacted near the start of fiscal year 2006 and that
the necessary amounts will be appropriated over the 2007-2010
Based on historical spending patterns of similar projects,
CBO estimates that implementing this act would cost $55 million
over the 2006-2010 period and an additional $9 million after
that period, including adjustments for anticipated inflation.
H.R. 125 would authorize the Bureau of Reclamation to
construct a water recharge and recovery system that would
benefit the Fallbrooke Public Utility District and the Marine
Corps Base at Camp Pendleton in California. Currently, the
feasibility study for this project is in the early stages of
development and will not be completed until 2006. For this
estimate, CBO assumes that construction would begin in 2007 and
would be completed in 2011.
Since the scope of the project is unclear, CBO cannot
estimate the amount of funding needed for operations and
maintenance. Any funds appropriated for operations and
maintenance would be offset by payments to the Treasury from
the district, except for those costs allocated to Camp
Pendleton. CBO expects that money would not be appropriated for
this purpose until after 2010. The bureau has the authority to
transfer the operations and maintenance of the project to the
district or another entity if an acceptable arrangement can be
Once water is first made available, the district would
begin repaying its share of the capital costs of this project.
Based on information from the bureau, CBO expects that the
district would be responsible for repaying about 40 percent of
the total cost of the project or about $26 million, assuming
adjustments for anticipated inflation. If funds were
appropriated to implement this legislation, that would result
in an increase of offsetting receipts to the federal government
of about $2 million a year, including interest, for 40 years
starting around 2011.
That change in direct spending is not credited to H.R. 125,
however, because the receipts are contingent upon future
Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 125
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or
tribal governments. Enacting this bill would benefit the
Fallbrook Public Utility District; any costs that it might
incur in association with the authorized project would be
Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Jule Middleton. Impact
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Lisa Ramirez-Branum.
Impact on the Private Sector: Craig Cammarata.
Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4
This bill contains no unfunded mandates.
PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW
This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing