H.R. 4944 (103rd): Water Desalination Act of 1994

103rd Congress, 1993–1994. Text as of Oct 04, 1994 (Placed on Calendar in the Senate).

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HR 4944 PCS

Calendar No. 713

103d CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4944

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 4 (legislative day, SEPTEMBER 12), 1994

Received; read twice and ordered placed on the calendar


AN ACT

To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct studies regarding the desalination of water and water reuse, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Water Desalination Act of 1994’.

SEC. 2. DECLARATION OF POLICY.

    In view of the increasing shortage of usable surface and ground water in the United States and the world and the importance of finding new sources of supply to meet present and future water needs and to further the goals of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act of 1974, the Water Resources Research Act of 1984, Public Law 95-84 (as amended), and Public Law 102-575, it is the policy of the United States to conduct and sponsor research to develop low-cost alternatives for the desalination and reuse of water or biologically impaired water and to provide for the development of practicable low-cost means of producing water of a quality suitable for environmental enhancement, agricultural, industrial, municipal, and other beneficial consumptive or nonconsumptive uses from saline or biologically impaired waters on a scale sufficient to determine the feasibility of the development of such water production and distribution on a large scale for the purpose of conserving and increasing water resources.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    As used in this Act:

      (1) DESALINATION OR DESALTING- The terms ‘desalination’ or ‘desalting’ mean the use of any process or technique for the removal and, when feasible, adaptation to beneficial use, of organic and inorganic elements and compounds from saline or biologically impaired waters, by itself or in conjunction with other processes.

      (2) SALINE WATER- The term ‘saline water’ means sea water, brackish water, and other mineralized or chemically impaired water.

      (3) UNITED STATES- The term ‘United States’ means the States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories and possessions of the United States.

      (4) USABLE WATER- The term ‘usable water’ means water of a high quality suitable for environmental enhancement, agricultural, industrial, municipal, and other beneficial consumptive or nonconsumptive uses.

      (5) SECRETARY- The term ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of the Interior.

SEC. 4. AUTHORIZATION OF RESEARCH AND STUDIES.

    (a) IN GENERAL- In order to determine the most cost-effective and technologically efficient means by which usable water can be produced from saline water or water otherwise impaired or contaminated, the Secretary is authorized to award grants and to enter into contracts, to the extent provided in advance in appropriation Acts, to conduct, encourage, and assist in the financing of research to develop processes for converting saline water or water otherwise impaired or contaminated into water suitable for beneficial uses. Awards of research grants and contracts under this section shall be made on the basis of a competitive, merit-reviewed process. Research and study topics authorized by this section include--

      (1) investigating desalination processes;

      (2) ascertaining the optimum mix of investment and operating costs;

      (3) determining the best designs for different conditions of operation;

      (4) investigating methods of increasing the economic efficiency of desalination processes through dual-purpose co-facilities with other processes involving the use of water;

      (5) conducting or contracting for technical work, including the design, construction, and testing of pilot systems and test beds, to develop desalting processes and concepts; and

      (6) studying methods for the recovery of byproducts resulting from the desalination of water to offset the costs of treatment and to reduce environmental impacts from those byproducts.

    (b) PROJECT RECOMMENDATIONS AND REPORTS TO THE CONGRESS- As soon as practicable and within three years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall recommend to Congress desalination demonstration projects or full-scale desalination projects to carry out the purposes of this Act and to further evaluate and implement the results of research and studies conducted under the authority of this section. Recommendations for projects shall be accompanied by reports on the engineering and economic feasibility of proposed projects and their environmental impacts.

    (c) AUTHORITY TO ENGAGE OTHERS- In carrying out research and studies authorized in this section, the Secretary may engage the necessary personnel, industrial or engineering firms, Federal laboratories, water resources research and technology institutes, other facilities, and educational institutions suitable to conduct investigations and studies authorized under this section.

    (d) DESALINATION CONFERENCE- Within 12 months following the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in coordination with the United States Agency for International Development, will plan and host a desalination conference, to include officials and desalination experts from academia, private industry, financial institutions, and government in the United States and other nations that use or conduct research on desalination. The conference shall explore promising technologies and methods for near-term development of affordable desalination and shall propose a research agenda and a plan of action to guide longer-term desalination development activities.

SEC. 5. DESALINATION DEMONSTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT.

    (a) IN GENERAL- In order to further demonstrate the feasibility of desalination processes investigated either independently or in research conducted pursuant to section 4, the Secretary shall administer and conduct a demonstration and development program for water desalination and related activities, including the following:

      (1) DESALINATION PLANTS AND MODULES- Conduct or contract for technical work, including the design, construction, and testing of plants and modules to develop desalination processes and concepts.

      (2) BYPRODUCTS- Study methods for the marketing of byproducts resulting from the desalting of water to offset the costs of treatment and to reduce environmental impacts of those byproducts.

      (3) ECONOMIC SURVEYS- Conduct economic studies and surveys to determine present and prospective costs of producing water for beneficial purposes in various locations by desalination processes compared to other methods.

    (b) COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS- Federal participation in desalination activities may be conducted through cooperative agreements, including cost-sharing agreements, with non-Federal public utilities and State and local governmental agencies and other entities, in order to develop recommendations for Federal participation in processes and plants utilizing desalting technologies for the production of water.

SEC. 6. PARTICIPATION BY AGENCIES AND INTERESTED PERSONS.

    (a) COORDINATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES- Activities undertaken by the Secretary pursuant to this Act may be coordinated or conducted jointly, as appropriate, with the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, United States Army Corps of Engineers, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency, and other Federal agencies, States, local government agencies, water resources research and technology institutes, and private entities.

    (b) AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION- All information from studies sponsored or funded under authority of this Act shall be considered public information.

SEC. 7. TECHNICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANCE.

    The Secretary may--

      (1) accept technical and administrative assistance from States and public or private agencies in connection with studies, surveys, location, construction, operation, and other work relating to the desalting of water, and

      (2) enter into contracts or agreements stating the purposes for which the assistance is contributed and providing for the sharing of costs between the Secretary and any such agency.

SEC. 8. COST SHARING.

    The Federal share of the cost of a research, study, or demonstration project or a desalination development project or activity carried out under this Act shall not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the project or research or study activity. The Secretary shall prescribe appropriate procedures to implement the provisions of this section. Costs of operation, maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation of facilities funded under the authority of this Act shall be non-Federal responsibilities.

SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) SECTION 4- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out section 4 of this Act $5,000,000 for fiscal year 1995 and $10,000,000 per year for fiscal years 1996 through 1999. Of these amounts, up to $1,000,000 in each fiscal year may be awarded to institutions of higher education for research grants without any cost-sharing requirement.

    (b) SECTION 5- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out section 5 of this Act $50,000,000 for fiscal years 1996 through 1999.

SEC. 10. DROUGHT RELIEF FOR MADERA-CHOWCHILLA POWER AUTHORITY HYDROELECTRIC PROJECTS.

    Section 103 of the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act of 1991 (106 Stat. 55; 43 U.S.C. 2213) is amended--

      (1) by inserting in the first sentence after ‘resulting from drought conditions.’ the following: ‘The Secretary is further authorized to make a loan to the Madera-Chowchilla Power Authority to assist in the repayment of financial obligations associated with hydroelectric facilities that have been adversely affected by drought conditions.’; and

      (2) by striking ‘loan.’ at the end of the second proviso and inserting ‘loan, except that loans specifically for the Madera-Chowchilla Power Authority associated with hydroelectric facilities impacted by drought shall be under such terms and conditions as the Secretary deems appropriate.’.

SEC. 11. AMENDMENT TO THE RECLAMATION PROJECTS AUTHORIZATION AND ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 1992.

    Title XVI of the Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992 (43 U.S.C. 390h et seq.) is amended by adding the following section:

‘SEC. 1618. ORANGE COUNTY REGIONAL WATER RECLAMATION PROJECT.

    ‘(a) The Secretary is authorized to participate with the Orange County Water District in the State of California, and other appropriate authorities, in the planning, design and construction of water reclamation projects to treat up to 100,000 acre feet per year of wastewater effluent from the county of Orange, in order to provide new water supplies for ground water replenishment, industrial applications and other beneficial purposes, to reduce the demand for imported water, and to reduce sewage effluent discharged into the ocean near Huntington Beach.

    ‘(b) The Secretary’s share of costs associated with the project described in section (a) shall not exceed 25 percent of the total. The Secretary shall not provide funds for operation or maintenance of the project.

    ‘(c) There are authorized to be appropriated not more than $250,000 for the design of projects under this section.’.

Passed the House of Representatives October 3, 1994.

Attest:

DONNALD K. ANDERSON,

Clerk.