Hearings and Business Meetings

SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 02:30 PM

Senator Pete V. Domenici

October 20, 2005

It is my pleasure to welcome you to today’s hearing on         S. 1016, the Desalination Water Supply Shortage Prevention Act of 2005, introduced by Senator Martinez and S. 1860, the Energy and Water Technology Research, Development and Transfer Program Act of 2005, a bill I introduced co-sponsored by Senator Bingaman, Majority Leader Frist, Senator Alexander, and Senator Feinstein. 
Water scarcity and declining water quality are increasingly critical issues throughout the world.  As the world's population grows and stores of fresh water are depleted, finding additional sources of fresh water is critical to meeting our energy needs and ensuring peace and security domestically and abroad. 
Widespread water shortages are expected here at home.  A GAO report states that thirty-six states anticipate shortages in the next ten years.  While we have long dealt with water shortages in the West, available supplies of water in the east coast have also been stretched thin.  Despite receiving substantially more rainfall than the western United States, much of the east coast is facing water shortages.  Boston, Atlanta and much of Florida are nearing the end of readily available water.  Without significant technological advancements that allow us to better utilize, conserve,and produce additional water in a cost-effective manner, it is unclear how we will meet this need.  
Ensuring an adequate supply of water is also critical to the United States’ energy portfolio.  Electricity production, oil and gas production, and certain renewable energy sources are all dependent on having adequate access to water.   For example, it is estimated that every barrel of oil we produce requires 10 gallons of water.  Conversely, energy is critical for treating, pumping and distributing water. Put simply, we must reduce water demand for energy production, reduce energy demand for water production, and develop new sources of water.
It is my belief that the federal government should help find solutions to meeting water supply challenges through investment in research and development.  However, water resources research accounts for only 0.5 percent of the $130 billion spent annually by the federal government on research and development initiatives.  Water augmentation research is less that one fourth of what it was in 1973. 
The two bills we are considering today take somewhat different approaches in meeting our need to intelligently manage our use and increase sources of our most important resource.  S. 1016 would provide subsidies for energy costs associated with desalination facilities while S. 1860 would establish a program with the Department of Energy to research and develop cost-effective technologies to help us meet our water needs.  I look forward to hearing testimony on these two bills.   
I would like to welcome our witnesses today. 
Panel One:
1.  Assistant Secretary Faulkner - Department of Energy
2.  Dr. Les Shephard, Sandia National Laboratories
3.  Dr. Jane Long - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

4.  Dr. James Roberto - Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Panel Two:
1. Jim Reynolds- Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority
2. Dr. Parekh (PAW - WRECK) – American Water Works Association Research Foundation
3. Ed Archuleta- Water Reuse
4. Colin Sabol- GE Infrastructure 

Written testimony and letters of support have been submitted on both bills.  These shall be made part of the record.
Senator Bingaman, would you care to make an opening statement?