Statement of William E. Rinne, Acting Commissioner
U.S. Department of the Interior
Before the
Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Subcommittee on Water and Power
U.S. Senate
S 1812
Juab County Surface and Ground Water Study and Development Act of 2005

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 Utah. East 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.