Hearings and Business Meetings

SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 02:30 PM

Mr. Jason Peltier

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, Department of the Interior

Statement of Jason Peltier

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science

U.S. Department of the Interior

Before the

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Subcommittee on Water and Power

On S. 1812

Amending the Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992

To Provide Use of Surface and Groundwater in Juab, County, Utah

June 28, 2006

 

Madam Chairwoman and members of the Subcommittee, my name is Jason Peltier. I am a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science in the Department of the Interior.  I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to express the Administration’s support for S. 1812, which would amend the Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992, or more specifically the Central Utah Project Completion Act. The proposed legislation would provide the opportunity for conjunctive use of surface and groundwater in Juab County, Utah.

 

The Central Utah Project Completion Act provides for the completion of the construction of the Central Utah Project by the Central Utah Water Conservancy District.  The Act also authorizes programs for fish, wildlife, and recreation mitigation and conservation; establishes an account in the Treasury for deposit of appropriations and other contributions; establishes the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission to coordinate mitigation and conservation activities; and provides for the Ute Indian Water Rights Settlement.

 

Section 202(a)(2) of the Central Utah Project Completion Act provides authorization to develop conjunctive use projects involving groundwater recharge, management and conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater in five counties within Utah. S. 1812 would allow conjunctive use funds currently restricted for use in Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Wasatch, and Weber counties to also be used in Juab County.  To date, only one project in Salt Lake County has participated in the conjunctive use program, leaving approximately $8.5 million of authorized appropriations for the program.  No other counties have requested to participate in the conjunctive use program. 

 

The conjunctive use program was originally limited to five counties that had been part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s High-Plains States Groundwater Demonstration Program. The Central Utah Project (CUP) as it was originally planned would have provided Juab County with sufficient water supplies.  However, this project has evolved over time. Under current plans, CUP water will be used in more populated areas of UtahEast Juab County is now planning to meet its water needs without CUP water, and this bill will provide it with an opportunity to develop needed water resources.  

 

 

This bill would not increase the level of authorized appropriations for the Central Utah Project Completion Act, but would allow Juab County to compete for funds in the same way that its five sister counties do today. 

 

Madam Chairwoman, this bill would allow Juab County to efficiently develop its water resources, and the Administration is pleased to support it. This concludes my testimony.  I am happy to answer any questions.