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The Law

Section 3408.  Additional Authorities

(a) Regulations and Agreements Authorized.--The Secretary is authorized and directed to promulgate such regulations and enter into such agreements as may be necessary to implement the intent, purposes and provisions of this title.

(b) Use of Electrical Energy.--Electrical energy used to operate and maintain facilities developed for fish and wildlife purposes pursuant to this title, including that used for groundwater development, shall be deemed as Central Valley Project power and shall, if reimbursable, be repaid in accordance with Reclamation law at a price not higher than the lowest price paid by or charged to other Central Valley Project contractors.

(c) Contracts for Additional Storage and Delivery of Water.--The Secretary is authorized to enter into contracts pursuant to Reclamation law and this title with any Federal agency, California water user or water agency, State agency, or private non-profit organization for the exchange, impoundment, storage, carriage, and delivery of Central Valley Project and non-project water for domestic, municipal, industrial, fish and wildlife, and any other beneficial purpose, except that nothing in this subsection shall be deemed to supersede the provisions of section 103 of Pub. L. 99-546 (100 Stat. 3051).

(d) Use of Project Facilities for Water Banking.--The Secretary, in consultation with the State of California, is authorized to enter into agreements to allow project contracting entities to use project facilities, where such facilities are not otherwise committee or required to fulfill project purposes or other Federal obligations, for supplying carry-over storage of irrigation and other water for drought protection, multiple-benefit credit-storage operations, and other purposes. The use of such water shall be consistent with and subject to State law. All or a portion of the water provided for fish and wildlife under this title may be banked for fish and wildlife purposes in accordance with this subsection.

(e) Limitation on Construction.--This title does not and shall not be interpreted to authorize construction of water storage facilities, nor shall it limit the Secretary's ability to participate in water banking or conjunctive use programs.

(f) Annual Reports to Congress.--Not later than September 30 of each calendar year after the date of enactment of this title, the Secretary shall submit a detailed report to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate and the committee on Interior and Insular Affairs and the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries of the House of Representatives. Such report shall describe all significant actions taken by the Secretary pursuant to this title and progress toward achievement of the intent, purposes and provisions of this title. Such report shall include recommendations for authorizing legislation or other measures, if any, needed to implement the intent, purposes and provisions of this title.

(g) Reclamation Law.--This title shall amend and supplement the Act of June 17, 1902, and Acts supplementary thereto and amendatory thereof.

(h) Land Retirement.--

(1) The Secretary is authorized to purchase from willing sellers land and associated water rights and other property interests identified in paragraph (h) (2)  which receives Central Valley Project water under a contract executed with the United States, and to target such purchases to areas deemed most beneficial to the overall purchase program, including the purposes of this title.

(2) The Secretary is authorized to purchase, under the authority of paragraph (h) (i), and pursuant to such rules and regulations as may be adopted or promulgated to implement the provisions of this subsection, agricultural land which, in the opinion of the Secretary -

(A) would, if permanently retired from irrigation, improve water conservation by a district, or improve the quality of an irrigation district's agricultural wastewater and assist the district in implementing the provisions of a water conservation plan approved under section 210 of the Reclamation Reform Act of 1982 and agricultural wastewater management activities developed pursuant to recommendations specific to water conservation, drainage source reduction, and land retirement contained in the final report of the San Joaquin Valley Drainage Program (September, 1990) ; or

(B) are no longer suitable for sustained agricultural production because of permanent damage resulting from severe drainage or agricultural wastewater management problems, groundwater withdrawals, or other causes.

(i) Water Conservation.--

(1) The Secretary is authorized to undertake, in cooperation with Central Valley Project irrigation contractors, water conservation projects or measures needed to meet the requirements of this title. The Secretary shall execute a cost-sharing agreement for any such project or measure undertaken. Under such agreement, the Secretary is authorized to pay up to 100 percent of the costs of such projects or measures. Any water saved by such projects or measures shall be governed by the conditions of subparagraph 3405(a) (1) (A)  and (J)  of this title, and shall be made available to the Secretary in proportion to the Secretary's contribution to the total cost of such project or measure. Such water shall be used by the Secretary to meet the Secretary's obligations under this title, including the requirements of paragraph 3406(b) (3). Such projects or measures must be implemented fully by September 30, 1999.

(2) There are authorized to be appropriated through the end of fiscal year 1998 such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this subsection. Funds appropriated under this subsection shall be nonreimbursable Federal expenditure.

(j) Project Yield Increase.--In order to minimize adverse effects, if any, upon existing Central Valley Project water contractors resulting from the water dedicated to fish and wildlife under this title, and to assist the State of California in meeting its future water needs, the Secretary shall, not later than three years after the date of enactment of this title, develop and submit to the Congress, a least-cost plan to increase, within fifteen years after the date of enactment of this title, the yield of the Central Valley Project by the amount dedicated to fish and wildlife purposes under this title. The plan authorized by this subsection shall include, but shall not be limited to a description of how the Secretary intends to use the following options:

(1) Improvements in, modification of, or additions to the facilities and operations of the project;

(2) Conservation;

(3) Transfers;

(4) Conjunctive use;

(5) Purchase of water;

(6) Purchase and idling of agricultural land; and

(7) Direct purchase of water rights.

Such plan shall include recommendations on appropriate cost-sharing arrangements and shall be developed in a manner consistent with all applicable State and Federal law.

(k) Except as specifically provided in this title, nothing in this title is intended to alter the terms of any final judicial decree confirming or determining water rights.