National Water Resources Association
A. Water resource programs and strategic long-term plans should recognize:
1. The inherent right and obligation of the people of all states to develop fully their water resources within the framework of applicable interstate compacts and the water laws of the respective states.
2. Integrated and multiple utilization of water development projects.
3. Authorization of and adequate appropriations for projects which will develop, control, conserve and utilize total water resources.
4. The need for additional long-term water storage necessary to sustain local economies, customs and to provide adequate water for domestic, agriculture, industrial and other water users during extended droughts.
5. The use of reclamation project water for generation of hydroelectric power in conformance with the authorized project purposes. The development of current and projected reclamation programs using the sale of such power and energy to assist in paying for the reclamation project. That utilization, either directly or by
exchange, of reclamation power reserved for reclamation project purposes shall have priority over all other uses and the rates for received reclamation power continue to be based on cost-based rate making policies in accordance with the principles of Reclamation Law.
B. To best serve the public interests the following policies should be adhered to:
Compliance with State Laws and Interstate Compacts
The federal government, its agents, employees, licensees and permittees shall comply with all applicable state laws and regulations and interstate compacts governing the appropriation, distribution, control or use of water, whether such water originates on federally owned or controlled lands or elsewhere.
Protection of Private and Public Property
Property needed for federal or state use shall be acquired by contract, purchase or condemnation proceedings in all instances. When land in a reclamation project is taken for public use, compensation for the taking must include payments which will adequately fund the repayment obligation for construction charges and operation and maintenance costs allocable to such land together with the costs of modifying or relocating water facilities made necessary by such taking.
In the designation by the Secretary of Interior, Secretary of Agriculture or Congress of wild and scenic rivers, wilderness and other such preservation legislation, due consideration and recognition shall be given to the principles of multiple use and recognition of water rights under the laws of the respective state. The
designation of a river as wild and scenic occurs only after an in depth study of alternate uses and after approval by affected states. Lands necessary to the development and use of water storage or diversion facilities shall be excluded from wilderness designation.
Access to Federal Lands
Each federal department responsible for federal lands shall permit normal reasonable access to such lands consistent with the needs of preservation, maintenance, construction or reconstruction of water facilities.
Pre-FLPMA Rights-of-Way for Water Facilities
Each federal department responsible for federal lands shall honor valid existing rights-of-way created prior to the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act consistent with the terms of the applicable grant.
Adherence to Project Purposes
No administrative change in the control of water and land use or development of a reclamation project shall occur unless approved by the project beneficiaries.
Elimination of Duplicative Research
Water departments and government agencies responsible for water resource development shall adopt procedures to eliminate or minimize duplication of investigation, research and basic work common to them, and shall disseminate information developed by them to the public at reasonable cost.
Transfer of Title upon Repayment
Upon completion of repayment to the United States and request to the Secretary of Interior by the contracting party, fee title to any works, facilities or land, which was paid for by the contracting party, shall be conveyed to such contracting party.
Watershed Management/Water Storage
Develop watershed management programs to:
(a) Reduce erosion and transported sediment thereby stabilizing stream conditions and improving water quality;
(b) Improve efficiency of water deliveries to downstream users;
(c) Decrease flood hazard to improved areas thereby protecting developed lands adjacent to river channels and other improved areas;
(d) Promote the beneficial use and reuse of water resources.
Legislation and regulations should strengthen the tax-exempt status of bonds issued or to be issued by public entities to provide for irrigation, municipal and industrial water supplies, sewage and solid waste disposal facilities, air and water pollution control facilities, and the production and marketing of electrical energy without regard to the area in which such services are provided and without regard to whether the purchaser of such services is a public or private entity.
Environmental Impact Statements
In the preparation of future recommendations and reports on water resource projects, the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act shall include within a single project report or recommendation all beneficial and adverse environmental and economic impacts.
National Energy Policy
Hydropower should be recognized as a renewable energy resource and a valuable domestic energy source.
Encourage exploration and use of our energy producing natural resources, and urge Congress to provide funds for continued research and development of new technology to reduce water consumption in the development of such energy sources.
Water Resource Investment and Financing
Legislation shall be adopted to establish procedures for the orderly development of national water resources investment programs to establish a revolving fund for financing operation, maintenance and replacement costs of certain water and power projects which are currently funded by appropriations.
Weather Data Collection
Provide sufficient funding and staffing to allow the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Geological Survey and the National Weather Service to continue to provide precipitation, temperature, snow surveys, stream flow watershed data, surface water supply forecasts and ground water supply monitoring in a cost effective manner to all interested entities; and to retain the related gathering, interpretive, dissemination and archival services provided by those agencies.
Federal agencies shall maximize the use of state programs and expertise for dam safety.
Oppose all efforts to repeal the McCarran Amendment and oppose any change, amendment or repeal of the McCarran Amendment which would give exclusive jurisdiction to the federal courts or deprive state courts of jurisdiction over the United States and any beneficiaries of trusts under which the United States has a trust
relationship in water rights adjudications.
Review and Approval of Agency Regulations
Congress and the legislatures of each respective state, when enacting legislation, shall define the extent to which agencies shall be authorized to adopt regulations implementing legislative enactments, and shall provide that each agency shall be liable for any damages resulting from the adoption and enforcement of
regulations not authorized by the legislative enactment.
Overdesign Criteria for Water Projects
Federal and state governments shall eliminate all practices involving overdesign and excessive requirements beyond acceptable engineering and safety standards that cause unnecessary expenses for water projects.
Rural Clean Water Actions
Local landowners and Natural Resources Conservation Service and area water agencies or local conservation districts shall be encouraged to voluntarily implement best management practices on agricultural lands and waters of the nation.
Urge support of Reclamation’s commitment to a proactive, but non-regulatory, approach to administering the water conservation provisions of the Reclamation Reform Act of 1982 (RRA), and to the continuing development of the Water Conservation Field Services Program (WCFSP) as an incentive-based program of technical and financial assistance, through voluntary federal-state-local partnerships, as the appropriate long-term role for Reclamation in encouraging water conservation.
Support development of reasonable and cost-effective local water conservation practices to supplement prudent water supply planning and development for future needs.
Protection of Water Resources from Contamination
Congress and the federal agencies shall increase their financial and technical support, cooperate with, and assist state and local agencies in monitoring and regulating the generation, treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous wastes, other toxic material and other contaminants so as to prevent impairment of water
resource programs; and to implement in a timely and cost-effective fashion salinity control programs.
Establish a federal policy on cost sharing by state and local entities for the reimbursable portion of water resource projects that:
(a) Fairly and equitably applies to all water users and recognizes and embodies the principles of Reclamation Law;
(b) Recognizes the value and benefit to the federal government of the goods and services, national and regional economic benefits, and the substantial tax revenues produced as a direct result of water
development projects and the significant in kind and financial contribution that has been made by state and local entities to the development of these projects, which in kind contribution should be valued on a parity with federal contributions;
(c) Attributes the costs resulting from federal regulatory requirements, features which serve federal purposes, and delays relating to such requirement or purposes, to the federal government; and
(d) Guarantees the full rights of nonfederal sponsors to participate in all planning, development, construction and operation and maintenance on all cost shared projects.
Uniform Reallocation Payment Standards: Corps Reservoirs
Congress and the Administration through the United States Army Corps of Engineers shall adapt and follow a uniform policy for the recovery of original costs only, rather than current replacement costs for the use of reservoir storage capacity which lawfully may have been reallocated for uses other than those for which a
reservoir may have originally been authorized.
Federal Power Program
That Congress maintains support for the federal power program and existing repayment policies and rejects proposals for mandatory scheduled amortization, i.e., straight line or compound interest, market rates, and rejects proposals for auctioning PMA assets, or other proposals that will reduce competition in the
electric utility industry in areas served by PMA’s or change long-standing commitments or policies.
In the establishment of environmental regulatory criteria all federal and state agencies should engage
in a risk assessment process which includes independent scientific peer review, comparative risk analysis across environmental media, interagency coordination, and a clear identification of assumptions, default options, criteria for conducting uncertainty analysis, the range of risk to humans and other species, and such other information as would be useful to the agencies and the public in determining the appropriate level of acceptable risk.
Recycled Water Projects
Adequate federal financial assistance for water recycling and groundwater recovery projects will greatly improve Western States' water supply reliability and provide environmental benefits through effective water recycling and recovery of degraded groundwater.