Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today testified before the Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water and Power to urge support of legislation she introduced to increase the water supply in California.

The Subcommittee is considering two pieces of legislation sponsored by Senator Feinstein that would authorize water recycling and other water supply projects for California, as well as a bill she sponsored to improve the federal process of approving water supply projects.

The Reclaiming the Nation’s Water Act (ReNew), co-sponsored with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), would reform Title XVI of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Water Reuse and Recycling Program to ensure water recycling proposals are evaluated against substantive criteria, and to establish a clear timetable for the project review process.

“There is not a large amount of money in the Title XVI program and I, like you, want to spend it building new water supplies, not studying projects endlessly,” Senator Feinstein said today at the hearing.

The ReNew Act clarifies that the purpose of the Title XVI Program would be to assist in the development of permanent local and regional water reclamation and reuse projects, and further improve water reclamation and reuse technologies through research and demonstration activities. The legislation also provides new authority for the Secretary of the Interior to review non-federal water reclamation and reuse project proposals, pursuant to new standards and procedures for such review.

The Water Recycling and Riverside-Corona Feeder Act would authorize four water recycling and water supply projects: the Inland Empire Regional Water Recycling Initiative, the Riverside-Corona Feeder, City of Corona Water Recycling Project, and the Yucaipa Valley Water Supply Renewal Project. These projects are expected to produce approximately 161,000 acre-feet of new water annually in the Inland Empire, one of the most rapidly growing regions of the United States.

The Water Recycling and Riverside-Corona Feeder Act is intended to be the companion to two bills in the House of Representatives: HR 802, sponsored by Representatives David Dreier, Grace Napolitano, Ken Calvert, Joe Baca, and Gary Miller; and HR 1008, sponsored by Representatives Ken Calvert, Jerry Lewis, Joe Baca and Darrell Issa. HR 802 and HR 1008 each have passed the House of Representatives twice, in both this Congress and the previous Congress.

The Santa Ana River Water Supply Enhancement Act of 2005 would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act to authorize the planning, design and construction of the Prado Basin Natural Treatment System Project and the Lower Chino Dairy Area Desalination Demonstration and Reclamation Project, and for the construction of regional brine lines in southern California.

The Santa Ana River Water Supply Enhancement Act of 2005 is the companion to HR 177, sponsored by Representative Gary Miller, Ken Calvert, David Dreier, Christopher Cox, Dana Rohrabacher and Edward Royce. HR 177 passed the House of Representatives in December 2005.

“The two California bills before us today will provide some 300,000 acre feet of new water annually,” Senator Feinstein said. “Put in context, that’s nearly 40 percent of the 800,000 acre foot annual reduction that California needs to reduce its use of the Colorado River from 5.2 million to 4.4 million acre feet per year.”