tv State Officials Testify on Water Security and Drought Preparedness CSPAN August 3, 2017 2:48am-4:01am EDT
>> this hearing of the senate energy and natural resources subcommittee on water and power will come to order. for the purpose of today's hearing is to receive testimony on water supply and drought issues. we will hear testimony on a range of topics including infrastructure supplied, certainty of planning and innovative management practices that are critical to maintaining the secure water supplies that includes items that are crucial to arizona such as the colorado river drought planning and watershed restoration better use of existing reservoirs, the reliable water supply and drought protection cannot be achieved without infrastructure and forward thinking management and planning. often times discussions at the federal level are dictated by cost.
however it's important that the congress also consider the the barriers local committees face as they plan and pursue new water projects. i look forward to the hearing how the states an state and locs encourage the judicious water use and how the permits streamline regulatory predict ability can ensure that all solutions are on the table. we will also hear about innovations and water treatment technology and the project finance that can help the infrastructure supply challenges. we live in an age of you know when you turn off the tap that there is water there and the water will always be there which means that supply certainty is critical for managers protecting the rights with the collaborative planning as we will see today to help ensure the water certainty and as we have seen in arizona providing the certainty can also unleash investment in innovative partnerships that have proven water management.
finally, changes to the operation managed existing infrastructure can be cost-effective water strategies as well. i'm glad the committee will hear from several witnesses today who can speak to the importance of using the most up-to-date hydrology and forecast operating the existing reservoirs. i think we can learn from the testimonies and build on last year's legislation to try to address the needs for arizona and the nation. water managers on the ground have great ideas about how to increase water supply and drought resistance and i look forward to working with them on the use efforts in addition to the experts today. as i know for all of my life whenever it rains no matter where i was living while i would
sesee rain i would have the instinct to call my dad because as an old rancher that is when he was in a good mood. to see which were running and which tanks would fill. that was our version of excitement in snowflake arizona. but anyway, i'm glad we are having this hearing and to have the ranking or from maine and turneturn to him for the opening statement. >> thank you for the witness is joining us this morning especially the constituent from maine. like me you would probably rather be in mena on a day in august. as the chairman mentioned the crucial help the water supply. we are not immune to the impacts of a fragile water supply due to drought conditions.
it impacted 70% of the state in a very significant percentage i think it is almost half depend upon the wells for their water and the drought finally ended this past april but it was a very serious matter for us. and i understand my colleagues on the west probably are not very sympathetic to hearing about droughts, but they do occur in all regions of the country they have these serious issues so i'm looking forward to hearing about the different approaches that have been developed in other parts of the country. the critical nature of water management across the country has stimulated a variety of approaches to planning and financing. for example, we will hear from martha from the new england environmental finance center with regards to the importance of green infrastructure improvements on the water supply i'm also looking forward to
hearing how we can promote public-private partnerships in water infrastructure projects and use the lessons in other areas wherand otherareas where e improvements are in fact desperately needed and we will hear about the value of planning and flexibility that we can provide in the water management and how innovations in water use technology can help make water management more effective. we have concerns around the country and needs depending on where we are we can certainly take lessons from these folks have joined us this morning to think differently and use more creative approaches to water management, public-private partnerships come innovative technology and innovative solutions. mr. chairman, thank you for calling the hearing, and i look forward to hearing from the witnesses and their testimony. >> thank you. we will turn to the witnesses today. thank you for joining us. i will begin the panel with the director of the arizona
department of resources and i appreciate the working relationship we have had over the years. we look forward to having your testifyoutestify before the send next we'll have the chair. i must say these are typically western focused and so it is nice to have a witness here that will talk about things going on in maine.
ranking member, members of the committee come under director of the arizona department of water resources. thank you for providing me the opportunity to testify on behalf of the state of arizona. i've submitted testimony for the record and my comments will highlight key issues in their testimony. arizona continues to develop and improve the framework and policy prescriptions are institutions and infrastructure needed to secure the water resources through a certainty and prepare for drought. the state prioritized his actions and collaborates with the federal government. aggressive water management actions have resulted in the reduction in arizona's water use while its population and economic output has increased all while decreasing the groundwater usage. for the past 20 years drought has been a constant in arizona. a shortage on the river is
declared about 84% of the total toll to arizona. this drives litigation programs in the state and now i want to share some examples in arizona first nuclear generating station contracted for the reclaim cooling purpose in 1973 became a common practice. in 1986 and 1984 to incentivize underground storage to help reduce the cost and the water can be used for drought management or growth. it was created in 1996 and the colorado river shortages. it stored over 4 million for arizona but also 600,000 for
nevada. they are facilitated by federally authorized tribal water rights settlement and one reason the state's policy is settled rather than litigate. there are 11 with pending so much work still needs to be done. majomajor activities are ongoind over the past decade even with the existing shortage criteria has risen to acceptable levels. in response, arizona, nevada, california and the bureau negotiated a draft drums continuously planned as it is commonly referred to. for the flexibility to recover some of that water.
under, they would take additional reductions in for the first time, california would take reductions to help protect the elevations. a draft minutes with mexico would have mexico take actions to the dcp when both agreements are finalized. directing the secretary interior to execute will be pursued when it is finalized. that will create certainty for all the parties that as it is demonstrated by the outline of the collaboration and all hands on deck approach for the future of the colorado river. within this faith we will do more with our existing infrastructure of th the bureauf reclamation and operators of the project.
the agreement creates a clear pathway for the recovery of water stored underground and the transport of the water in the canal. it will lower the cost and create flexibility. another opportunity is the use of that control the space to increase the shield. the issues forced the interested parties to set aside their efforts, streamlining the process similar to the amendment of senators insert into the bill last year it helped make that a reality. in conclusion, arizona's internal efforts to manage its water resources and collaborative efforts on the
colorado river will be most successful where federal oversight is minimized, regulations and process is reduced or streamlined and space and water resources honored. thank you. >> chair and flake, members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i serve on the board of supervisors for sonoma county california and also as the chairwoman of the board of directors for the sonoma county water agency. very proud to be here today to provide a local perspective on water management. we believe that securing the water means investing in the water resources. water is life. we have the pleasure and responsibility to deliver safe and affordable drinking water 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
drought or flood we must secure a water supply. it's outdated and in need of updates. it improved long-range forecasting in order to manage water resources for both extreme, wet and dry conditions. we manage the projects a of the life water supply for the people in sonoma. the lakes are dual purpose reservoirs and the ordering for managers for the protection and water agency manages to functions. the lake water control manual was created in 1959 nearly 60 years later the manual has not been adjusted. in 2013 the core was required to leave release 20,000 to reach
the reservoir because it had to adhere to the antiquated rule despite the predictions though rain was forecast. it dropped to 25% of capacity later this season and lost water valued at tens of millions of dollars. we have updated their roles in sonoma county it would have been better positioned to adapt to the prolonged drought that followed in the next four years. the unpredictability in the weather patterns with the underlying goal of becoming more resilient. not only is it critical for the security but also makes sense economically. we embark upon the initiative in 2014 with federal and state partners to improve the weather forecast modeling and managing the operations. the effort is called forecasts informed reservoir operations better known as firo.
this summer the partnership released a preliminary viability assessment of the lake. the ultimate goal was to put into place a modern rule. we need better data and long-term forecasting to improve water management. in california we experience atmospheric rivers to provide about 50% of the yearly rainfall in california within just a few storms. the frequency and location is the primary driver of the flood and drought however rainfall forecasting beyond ten to 14 days remains unreliable. it's crucial for operating water
supply and flood control infrastructure. the forecasts are critical for improving water project operations and we are working with western states to build a coalition of stakeholders committed to working with our partners to improve the forecasting capabilities and the need for the global system to predict the weather patterns is critical. better science leads to better data and will greatly benefit the operations. we are committed to working with this committee and other members of congress who secure the water future by investing in better technology. we know modern technology can be used more effectively to manage the reservoirs.
thank you for the opportunity to testify and i'm pleased to answer any questions that you may have. knowing how busy you all are i would like to make three key points. first, clean water is essential for growing the economy by protecting the health and securing the nation. second, there's costs and hope in the numerous examples around the country on how the state and local governments are saving money by investing in watershed conservation. the federal government support although helpful should be expanded. clean water is a critical component of the brand and is essential for attracting and
maintaining business, residents and a tour. we have computer chip manufacturers as well as proliferation all of which require plentiful supply. in the watershed alone almost 20,000 jobs depend on the basic health. just as in the main entire country has seen numerous opportunities to protect the cost savings and provide multiple economic benefits. it's the economic engine of the entire state. the water district has a water management program to keep the watershed healthy resistant to the species all ove over the pry objective of protecting the water quality.
90% of the watershed is privately owned into the development pressures are threatening the districts in filtration waiver. the district is considering the mix of scenarios from the private plans that include buffers the conservation easement and the sustainable forestry. they cost approximately one third of what it would cost to build them in filtration plant. if we added the other benefits like wildlife habitat protection, recreation for the cost of not building in filtration plants and increased tremendously. the drinking water source and caskill mountains ultimately saving approximately $5 billion compared to the constructing of
the new filtration plant. the tropical storm caused extensive damage is in 2011. it should have been even higher and they were far less because large conserved wetland complex absorbs the floodwaters. the same with coastal flooding. the shoreline is increasingly vulnerable from the sea level rise and there are economic benefits from preserving and restoring the coastal wetlands. the infrastructure that mimics nature into things like bayou retention areas are much more economical to manage the storm water and because there are many and diffused, the increase security by relying on the
diversity of approaches rather than centralized facilities. the challenge in the country is to better use existing available funds. and second, to promote the infrastructure that mimics nature and finally, financing programs at the federal and state levels should reply here or at least encouraged economic analysis and evaluation of products that clearly show the cost benefits and trade-offs of projects as in the portland water district. by doing so, the most cost effective should encourage savings and to generate multiple benefits such as the water protection under resistance to the species.
so the private and public land owners adopt the evaluation practices that achieve multiple benefits. i will leave you with this. and ounce of prevention is worth so help us work together to implement a cost-effective strategies to protect the vital water resources and also provide multiple benefits at the same time. thank you for your time. >> good morning, chairman, ranking member and members o. to testify on the importance of securing the sustainable water future. i am the president and ceo of the division and the power business. ge water is one of the world's leading advanced water treatment technology companies with more than 50,000 customers operations at approximately 130 countries employing roughly 7.5000 people worldwide. our comprehensive set of
chemical solutions and growing portfolio project to enhance wastewater fro, process activitd benefit the communities overcoming scarcity challenges, strengthening environmental stewardship and comply with the regulatory requirements. so far more than 4,000 of the customers are connected over 40,000 assets and the digital platform called inside which held saucepot demise the water efficiencies through real-time responsiveness to changing operating conditions. overall, the technologies enable customers to achieve over 3 billion gallons per day. to continue the position o in te industry within the water industry we expect research and development over the next ten years. i would also like to mention that in march, ge announced a definitive agreement to sell technologies business to suez, the global solutions company with obligations primarily in water and waste management. it remains subject to the customary closing and we expect
to close by the end of the third quarter. the strategy for the programming technology development will remain and strengthen as we transition. according to the market research, the global population will grow by another 3 billion people by 2015. this growth in population will require 55% more water and approximately 70% more energy. demand that cannot be met with current resources. even though the world is facing the demand, we can help address the scarcity. globally only 4% of wastewater is currently used about we know that it's possible to use much more. for example, in israel nearly 80% of the wastewater is used in singapore 40% of the water demand is met with what is called new water. herthe water. here in the united states approximately seven to 8% is reused a areas like california
nearly 16% of the gallons of municipal wastewater is reused with an increasing trend. in march of this year regarding its perception of reusing the portable consumption of response was 49% willing up to 30% from a few years ago. even though we work with communities around the world we also focus on water we use for where it doesn't have to be treated to be safely used. the majority of my testimony focuses on how advanced water treated solutions can be adopted by communities and industries to help address water scarcity and of the economics of energy efficiency and the adoption of digital solutions. deploying the technologies across the ecosystem will help secure the water future and i believe that other research
institutions will continue to find ways to bring innovations to market. in addition to developing and implementing water technologies we have a series of reports highlighting policy options promoting more rapid adoption of the solutions and we have some publications we will make available for the committee. but the major policy options include education and outreach to provide information on and recognition of water recycling. reducing or removing such as the fact there are no nationwide quality standards providing financial regulatory or other incentives for the water recycling and reuse and mandating we believe that our technology can help unlock the economics held by adopting the programs where the climate cycles in the industrial
internet to solve complex water infrastructure treatment of challenges. thank you for holding this important hearing it for the opportunity to present the testimony. i look forward to your questions and working with you to address these challenges. >> thank you. >> good morning and thank you for inviting me here today. i'm the president and chief executive. we are a development company that delivers large-scale complex infrastructure projects to agencies through public-private partnerships. my written testimony describes the characteristics of the business model which is now widely used in areas such as the uk or canada and australia. my own company has been developing water infrastructure projects in north america using
this approach for more than 20 years. our signature project is a 50 million-gallon per day plan which is the largest and most technically advanced in the western hemisphere that is now serving san diego california. after a lengthy permitting and development was constructed on time and on budget and today supplies about 10% of the daily water needs. i would like to make brief and simple points. first, we must anticipate and plan for future water supply challenges that are brought on by factors such as population growth, economic growth, the aging of existing water systems into changing factors. it takes years to implement projects to meet large-scale needs if we simply cannot afford to wait until a crisis. second, now more than ever is
the time for closer cooperation between the public and private sectors to meet this challenge. across the u.s., many of the systems have gone three or four decades with very low investment and capital needs to bring the water system up to standards is estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. given today's harsh political realities, public water agency capital budgets simply cannot cover this gap. fortunately many private investors are willing to invest in the vehicle of piii is for the modest but steady long-term returns offered by infrastructure projects. third, to skeptics that fear a loss of public control over crucial public facilities, let me emphasize the key point. a well-designed project is very different from outright privatization. it is in reality an alternative method of the project delivery over the defiant concession to
go with specified performance obligations. i would be happy to illustrate the difference is focusing on the example of the partnership of san diego county water authority. in this case the water agency exercised a high degree of control over the design and operation of the project and ultimately will assume ownership of the plant at the end of the contract to come. fourth and finally, there are simple but significant steps congress can take to remove barriers to the business model. my testimony describes the proposed reforms such as caps on the use of private activity bonds that can be lifted, and also the bureau's financing authority could be broadened through a program similar to the recently enacted program at epa which was itself based on the model for transportation projects and restrictiv restrict scoring rules related to the three p. repayment stream should be examined. let me close by noting that in
the united states, we've long since come to accept and embrace public financing for many other types of infrastructure serving public needs such as transportation, energy and telecommunications. i feel the time is ripe to bring this approach to renewing the water systems. specifically fo through the modl of public-private partnership where the model fits it offers a win-win for everyone at a time when the country needs bipartisan wins. the water agency can meet the service obligations and conserve the borrowing capacity. the private sector for the capital but the consumers get the benefit of much-needed infrastructure on a faster schedule and a more predictable term. everybody works together for the good of the citizens and the overall economy. thank you and i look forward to any questions that you may have. >> thank you for your testimony. we will start with a round of questions. you point out in your testimony
that the cuts to the colorado river supplies are taken under the shortage declaration with efforts underway to keep the water talk a lot about this. the department of interior provided an insurance that the e conserved water would be conserve water would be delivered to farmers across the river in california. it's my understanding that dcp has a permanent fix for the so-called assist him water. if it will not take into effect until next year at the earliest, are we operating once again without the shirt in this? >> chairman, we do not have those assurances in writing. we would like to see that happen this calendar year. at the assurances ran out at the end of 26 team and it is imperative that the efforts of arizona, nevada, california and mexico over the last several years actually avoid the
shortage in 2015 to 2016 and 2017 so it is critical that this day and the certainty of the commitment from the department of interior would allow us to continue to go ahead with confidence that the money was spending it is going to be well served. >> it ended in the west with all the rain and in the sierra nevada in the winter that we have as we changed the equation in the lower base. it kind of petered out in the spring and between march and june, we lost 2 million off of the runoff projections of it gave a brief respite but there is still more to do.
the recycling that we have been arizona frankly. if the request to build up a treatment plan for the recycling projects in arizona we've seen project is from tucson, phoenix, prescott that do not require federal funds. can you explain how arizona state water law treats affluent and how it has created situations where private entities have incentives to invest? >> the equal generation statement contract spurred a lawsuit in arizona and the
supreme court in 1989 and ruled treating wastewater is the property of the entity that treats it. that really did and incentivize the infrastructure and the certainty that framework certainly lead to arizona using quite a bit of its water almost 100% the same as the tucson area and that was one of the key factors that allowed us to achieve that goal. >> you mentioned that you use predictive analytics to better utilize the systems in private investment that you have. explain that. predictive analytics are being used about everywhere but explain how they are used with water. >> what we are talking about is
in different areas, one just looking at it itself at the performance management it's about improving efficiency, predicting downtimes from taking preemptive measures protecting the prolonging of the asset life of the planned operation. if you look outside we have larger infrastructure and that there is a whole slew of different ones to protect the pipeline health and detect leakage is through the preemptive activity. together with the tools and analysis up front, this clearly helps to drive improvements in operating productivity and efficiencies.
>> thank you mr. chairman. i was struck by the testimony and the desire for more certainty and science in terms of predictability that was a crucial element. what bothers me is the budget that was said that if by the administration because of the budget by 16% cuts research by 32% and even the national weather service by 6%. we need better data and i'd also say we need better data to make better policy and i find that very concerning for all of the work we are doing here. if we do not have to predictability it will aggravate this do you agree? >> 100% we have to invest in technology. to remember what it costs us when we don't invest in
technology, we've gone down to 25% of the reservoir because the corps of engineers were following a rule based upon the upcoming precipitation. on the other hand, we've been able to keep more water this last season where we had the russian river flooded three times so basically in one year, sonoma county was declared both in an emergency in terms of drought and flood so we truly know there are extreme differences and i think it's all about investing in the innovation and about better forecasting so we can better manage water on the ground. the weather is an integral part and we do know even with the science we've now been working on, if we installed the proper radar along the coast in northern california, we are going to have basically a forecast that gives three to four days in advance to prepare
for floods and keep the water reservoir over 50% of the precipitation in california. so that is a thing we have to track. we are seeing again x. stream whether differences and i couldn't agree more it's been an integral part are looking at tht the forecasting and increasing the technology and then it's about efficiency and cost savings. >> is there some calculable maximum, and i'm looking big picture of the gallons needed per year and per person in a given area in the country or the southwest and are we bumping up against that? hell do we calculate what we need and can we continue to absorb the population in phoenix and los angeles?
>> certainly there is a calculation per day and per person but it varies in different parts of the country. certainly in arizona where it doesn't rain much, the outdoor use that attaches to the home for example you need water to meet that demand so it will be a different number than perhaps on the east coast. so perhaps if it is 60 gallons per day in arizona 170, 150, somewhere in that range is a more reasonable number. >> is there a sort of global calculation of the potential for either conservation or reuse is that one third or half? can we invent our way out of this problem? >> let's talk about the potential for low flow toilets just more conservation measures.
>> at least in arizona we have been doing conservation since 1980. the reduced in the population centers the gallons per day by 25 to 30% in some cases more. we have projected out our future supply and demand and we know that conservation alone will not achieve the goal of keeping up with growth in the population of the economy. we do know however it might fill as much as 50% of the future growth projections so those are two areas that we have got to concentrate on. >> i think you gave the calculation but can you dollar value the natural protection buffers and the like versus filtration? i think you gave a figure on that.
>> in the case of the lake water shed in order to preserve the needed national infrastructure around the lake, it costs one third less than to build a new filtration plant that would do the same work. >> are there differences in abilities to finance those solutions in other words can you get federal grants for the filtration plant was not acquiring the buffers? >> you can get them in state revolving fund and some federal programs, but acquiring land is much different. some state revolving fund to finance the purchase of land by drinking water utilities but they don't allow the coordination of purchase with
land trusts who might be interested in the same piece of land. >> i would be interested if you could supply for the record a sort of comparison between buying a filtration plant and protecting naturally and what policy, tax policy, grandpa will see how it works. i'm interested in whether we are providing sufficient incentives to do it naturally as opposed to mechanically. >> doing it naturally is always less expensive. >> i understand that, but are they are pro- birth incentives or penalties, tax benefits -- you don't have to answer me now but for the record if you could supply that i would like to see a comparison of how the tax policy to grant policy, regulatory policy affect the two
forks of the solution. >> i can provide that but it's difficult to know all the benefits and to put that in the avoided cost number. we know the avoided cost of building the plant is the cost of the filtration plant that you don't have to build, but to value them on market valu the nf the recreation and the carbon sequestration and other non- market value is there isn't an easy way to do that and if we don't count the costs we are underestimated the benefits. so i will get you that analysis. >> i will turn to the man who has more legs than constituents in his state. senator franken. >> no, we actually have more constituents. it's the land of 10,000 lakes and we have 14,000.
i have 5.5 million constituents. >> let's talk science. scientists project that by the end of the century will face more intense droughts and in the midwest we will face flooding and we need to prepare for these changes by adapting or modifying our infrastructure including the dams and levees you've been managing water infrastructure during both droughts and flooding the last few years what can the federal government do to help communities prepare we are
we got a 6 million-dollar fema grants to repair the roads if wt we are putting another 4 million into the general fund and that is wasted dollars. we have a 6 billion-dollar agricultural industry and a biological opinion that works. i believe we could do a better job and not waste 1 dollar or one drop of federal funding when it comes to those emergency disasters. i couldn't be more disappointed that technology research was cut in the recent budget and i think it is the wrong way to go and i agree with senator king is thought to be technology and data that is the foundation
called the policies. the whole energy committee meeting we are talking about with less investment on energy efficiency. [inaudible] in your testimony you highlight the importance of green infrastructure and rebuilding natural systems like the wetlands as a way to protect water by avoiding the more expensive forms of traditional infrastructure projects. i just had the commanding general of the army corps of
engineers. they dredge mississippi to keep the channels opechannels open fd it's important that we have a situation. we are at a point they have to dump it on somebody's form. especially in light of the changing climate. up and down the east coast edifice affecting the community's tremendously and protecting the wetlands that are
in place is the most cost-effective way to manage floodwaters on the coast. that can also be cost-effective as opposed to the flood damage that you can get if you don't have the natural system to absorb the waters. i talked about vermont. we got all these damages because it is basically impervious surfaces. we have to wait the cost and benefits from preserving the natural areas that will always be cheaper than to deal with the consequences.
>> there is significant conservation benefits reestablishing. >> not only environmental but social benefits and economic benefits at the same time. >> you are nodding a lot. >> we've been spending the last nine years with the corps of engineers and the private landowners implementing a biological opinion we have yet to be sued. we worked really well with our land owners and we are seeing great restoration. i grew up with a fishing pole in my hand in the midwest all over with my father.
as a coffee water supply and quality that is healthy so we really use that as a measuring stick and i would invite you all to come out and take a look at some of the construction projects in terms of restoring the habitat along the true terry of the river. they are quite incredible. some of the best wine you will ever drink and the people that own the property arowned the prg the line and they are working hand-in-hand with us as well as the core to implement a biological opinion. >> sonoma is just unbelievably beautiful as its main. it's gorgeous. where are the rest of you from, i forgot. [laughter] thank you for working on our
water infrastructure. >> thank you, senator. i've taken a couple of survival trips where the only water i could drink is what i brought and i know it takes a lot of time to producing a lot of pressure with a little manual so the big issue is power usage. i assume that is a big cost. tell me, with california producing a lot of intermittent power with solar, does that provide benefits and opportunities for desalination where you can pick the times that you actually use the hardware and power intermittent use how it is aiding or helping
your industry. >> thank you. no, power is a major component to the desalinated water. so for instance for every gallon of water that we produce, roughly half of it represents capital, a quarter represents operating costs that are not power and another quarter represents the cost of power. over the course of the last decade, the amount, the percentage and overall cost has been declining as there've been a lot of technology innovations starting with the improvement in filters, improvement in different energy recovery systems and the like. but in terms of where we get that power from coming in the first instance, i've got to say this, we feel very strongly that we need to find ways to maximize the use of renewable energy in order to address the power
supply. there are limits we can do on site because there's just not enough room to put a massive solar array to do that but we will do rooftop solar where we can. what we would like to do is be able to access some of the energy that is being produced remotely in the areas in california to find ways to bring it to the site. that is currently not possible for us under california law but that's something a number of people are working on with direct access. finally, the issue that you raised which is the ability to take low-cost power or excess pepper and then operate to a comedy that is another potential area where we are looking. ..
on the eastern good to arizona they talked about how that could be used, in terms of pumping. the biggest single water user in arizona is the central arizona project to pump water. if that can be done in times were intermittent power is cheaper, it certainly help out. >> we talked a lot about the colorado river and making sure
with regard to storage and water banking in wheeling, one thing we really haven't talked about is surface water in arizona and how that is utilized. talk about for a minute, the importance of arizona's watershed, our northern forest, for example, and how we can better utilize or make sure that we are taking full advantage of every drop of rain that falls in arizona. not necessarily in the upper basin and flowing to the colorado river. how important is it for arizona's water future and what we need to do? >> senator flake, supplies are critical. out of our water budget, about 17% comes from the gila and salt river. on the salt river itself, the main reservoir has flood
control capacity dedicated to it. if we could use that flood control capacity to store water in the summertime when it's very unlikely we are going to get any major runoff events and we can increase the yield out of the salt river by about 70000 acres. it's highly variable but we need to maximize every drop of water that we have from our in-state sources. >> healthy forests with fewer trees, that's a better system to have, certainly, than what we experienced in the ponderosa pine forest. is that true and how important is it to manager forced. >> there are a lot of benefits, economic and otherwise, but in terms of water, is there in imperative to better manage our first? >> absolutely. we estimate that in
pre-settlement days there were less than 50 trees. acre. that has grown to over 1000 trees. acre. using a lot more water. >> kind of like straws in the ground. >> right. it also creates a lot of fire danger. we've had increase in the number of acres burned over the past several decades from about 85000 acres to over 2 million acres in the 2000. the church runoff in the sediment that comes after the fires, reducing our reservoir capacity causing issue there. the help of the forest is key. we do have a forest restoration project underway. what we have seen is we need to find ways to incentivize private industry to come in so they can take advantage of those wood products. the restoration that's been underway so far has been hampered and we can't create and hinder this and use the
wood products. we need to get private industry in there. >> i just wanted to bring this back to the importance for water as well because that is not talked about as much. >> first i want to ask each of you, everyone leaves a situation like this since i wish i said this i wish i made this recommendation. be thinking about what he can do in federal policy to help the areas you are working on. whether it's tax policy, regulation, what are the things because that's her business here, making laws. if you can provide some backup information or white papers, that would be helpful. there's obviously huge potential. gigantic oceans.
what's the cost of the gallon of d sala nice water created by desalinization create versus that that comes from traditional sources. >> i think it's fair to say that it's more expensive than existing water supply. >> how much more expensive. >> it depends on the system. the reason for that is the existing supplies have created the existing water.
it's in a pond that requires minimum treatment or groundwater. if that's available to your freely it will go to that. conservation is obviously critical part of that, but i think for a healthy system that's resilient to the type of climate and the like that senator franken was talking about, you need a diversified supply system. resilience equals diversification. if think it's an important piece of that. >> it will become more so as pressure increases. that raises the question, i'm not really sure who to address this too.
there's an issue of cost. i have a friend who's a car dealer. he tells me you can graft to precision when gas prices go down he sells more trucks. when gas prices go up he sells more prince' toyota previous. to the extent that there's going to be technology invested and reused, doesn't tackle back to the cost of commodity and people will conserve more of its more expensive mlb more creativity in terms of results. my friend from ge. you are knotting. is that an accurate perception? if this was 20 cents a gallon we'd all be driving humvees. >> you see that in the middle east with big cars. we see that where the price of
water reflects the value of water. we have more new technology being applied to be able to reuse water to address future needs. i think you are absolutely right. as supplies decrease, that will be a logical outcome. i'm not advocating higher prices for water but that seems to be an inevitability. dual systems within cities for a drink of water versus water used for other purposes.
>> i want to get back to investing in technology. we have to understand what the weather will do for saved water and consumed water. >> with more storage be a partial answer when you have these storms so you can buffer the effect of the flood and store the water when it's dry? >> the storage has to be in the ground at this point. california is the last date in the western states have any type of regulation in terms of groundwater and we are just beginning to kick that off. i think the answers we need to find better innovative ways of storing our water in the ground and at the same time maximizing the reservoirs and you asked what we would like to share with you. we would like to work with you to include projects like ours
that do involve the core and emphasize that they need to be initiated by water sponsors only. the court operates in all of your states so we would like to be included in some of the legislation that they have authored which we really appreciate that legislation. again, i just want to stress technology and better science. i think we could save this country billions of dollars if we could figure out the technology and forecasting.
>> we are pleased we are able to do so today. we want to thank the witnesses for testimony. we've touched on some helpful issues. last congress we were able to put together a bill that addressed many of the needs that we have anything between that bill and the testimony we've heard today, we will have the material to put together another water supply and drought bill that deals with a lot of the issues we've touched on today. members questions will be submitted for the record before the close of business on thursday. this hearing is adjourned.