[109th Congress Public Law 448]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]

[DOCID: f:publ448.109]

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Public Law 109-448
109th Congress

                                 An Act

To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to cooperate with the States 
on the border with Mexico and other appropriate entities in conducting a 
   hydrogeologic characterization, mapping, and modeling program for 
 priority transboundary aquifers, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 
                         22, 2006 -  [S. 214]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: United States-
Mexico Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Act.>> 

SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.>> SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``United States-Mexico Transboundary 
Aquifer Assessment Act''.

SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.>> PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to direct the Secretary of the Interior 
to establish a United States-Mexico transboundary aquifer assessment 
program to systematically assess priority transboundary aquifers.

SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.>>  DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Aquifer.--The term ``aquifer'' means a subsurface water-
        bearing geologic formation from which significant quantities of 
        water may be extracted.
            (2) IBWC.--The term ``IBWC'' means the International 
        Boundary and Water Commission, an agency of the Department of 
            (3) Indian tribe.--The term ``Indian tribe'' means an Indian 
        tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community--
                    (A) that is recognized as eligible for the special 
                programs and services provided by the United States to 
                Indians because of their status as Indians; and
                    (B) the reservation of which includes a 
                transboundary aquifer within the exterior boundaries of 
                the reservation.
            (4) Participating state.--The term ``Participating State'' 
        means each of the States of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
            (5) Priority transboundary aquifer.--The term ``priority 
        transboundary aquifer'' means a transboundary aquifer that has 
        been designated for study and analysis under the program.
            (6) Program.--The term ``program'' means the United States-
        Mexico transboundary aquifer assessment program established 
        under section 4(a).
            (7) Reservation.--The term ``reservation'' means land that 
        has been set aside or that has been acknowledged as having been 
        set aside by the United States for the use of an Indian

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        tribe, the exterior boundaries of which are more particularly 
        defined in a final tribal treaty, agreement, executive order, 
        Federal statute, secretarial order, or judicial determination.
            (8) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United 
        States Geological Survey.
            (9) Transboundary aquifer.--The term ``transboundary 
        aquifer'' means an aquifer that underlies the boundary between a 
        Participating State and Mexico.
            (10) Tri-regional planning group.--The term ``Tri-Regional 
        Planning Group'' means the binational planning group comprised 
                    (A) the Junta Municipal de Agua y Saneamiento de 
                Ciudad Juarez;
                    (B) the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service 
                Board; and
                    (C) the Lower Rio Grande Water Users Organization.
            (11) Water resources research institutes.--The term ``water 
        resources research institutes'' means the institutes within the 
        Participating States established under section 104 of the Water 
        Resources Research Act of 1984 (42 U.S.C. 10303).


    (a) In General.--The Secretary, in consultation and cooperation with 
the Participating States, the water resources research institutes, 
Sandia National Laboratories, and other appropriate entities in the 
United States and Mexico, and the IBWC, as appropriate, shall carry out 
the United States-Mexico transboundary aquifer assessment program to 
characterize, map, and model priority transboundary aquifers along the 
United States-Mexico border at a level of detail determined to be 
appropriate for the particular aquifer.
    (b) Objectives.--The objectives of the program are to--
            (1) develop and implement an integrated scientific approach 
        to identify and assess priority transboundary aquifers, 
                    (A) for purposes of subsection (c)(2), specifying 
                priority transboundary aquifers for further analysis by 
                          (i) the proximity of a proposed priority 
                      transboundary aquifer to areas of high population 
                          (ii) the extent to which a proposed priority 
                      transboundary aquifer would be used;
                          (iii) the susceptibility of a proposed 
                      priority transboundary aquifer to contamination; 
                          (iv) any other relevant criteria;
                    (B) evaluating all available data and publications 
                as part of the development of study plans for each 
                priority transboundary aquifer;
                    (C) creating a new, or enhancing an existing, 
                geographic information system database to characterize 
                the spatial and temporal aspects of each priority 
                transboundary aquifer; and
                    (D) using field studies, including support for and 
                expansion of ongoing monitoring and metering efforts, to 

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                          (i) the additional data necessary to 
                      adequately define aquifer characteristics; and
                          (ii) scientifically sound groundwater flow 
                      models to assist with State and local water 
                      management and administration, including modeling 
                      of relevant groundwater and surface water 
            (2) consider the expansion or modification of existing 
        agreements, as appropriate, between the United States Geological 
        Survey, the Participating States, the water resources research 
        institutes, and appropriate authorities in the United States and 
        Mexico, to--
                    (A) conduct joint scientific investigations;
                    (B) archive and share relevant data; and
                    (C) carry out any other activities consistent with 
                the program; and
            (3) produce scientific products for each priority 
        transboundary aquifer that--
                    (A) are capable of being broadly distributed; and
                    (B) provide the scientific information needed by 
                water managers and natural resource agencies on both 
                sides of the United States-Mexico border to effectively 
                accomplish the missions of the managers and agencies.

    (c) Designation of Priority Transboundary Aquifers.--
            (1) In general.--For purposes of the program, the Secretary 
        shall designate as priority transboundary aquifers--
                    (A) the Hueco Bolson and Mesilla aquifers underlying 
                parts of Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico;
                    (B) the Santa Cruz River Valley aquifers underlying 
                Arizona and Sonora, Mexico; and
                    (C) the San Pedro aquifers underlying Arizona and 
                Sonora, Mexico.
            (2) Additional aquifers.--The Secretary may, using the 
        criteria under subsection (b)(1)(A), evaluate and designate 
        additional priority transboundary aquifers which underlie New 
        Mexico or Texas.

    (d) Cooperation With Mexico.--To ensure a comprehensive assessment 
of priority transboundary aquifers, the Secretary shall, to the maximum 
extent practicable, work with appropriate Federal agencies and other 
organizations to develop partnerships with, and receive input from, 
relevant organizations in Mexico to carry out the program.
    (e) Grants and Cooperative Agreements.--The Secretary may provide 
grants or enter into cooperative agreements and other agreements with 
the water resources research institutes and other Participating State 
entities to carry out the program.


    (a) Coordination With States, Tribes, and Other Entities.--The 
Secretary shall coordinate the activities carried out under the program 
            (1) the appropriate water resource agencies in the 
        Participating States;
            (2) any affected Indian tribes;
            (3) any other appropriate entities that are conducting 
        monitoring and metering activity with respect to a priority 
        transboundary aquifer; and
            (4) the IBWC, as appropriate.

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    (b) New Activity.--After the date of enactment of this Act, the 
Secretary shall not initiate any new field studies or analyses under the 
program before consulting with, and coordinating the activity with, any 
Participating State water resource agencies that have jurisdiction over 
the aquifer.
    (c) Study Plans; Cost Estimates.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary shall work closely with 
        appropriate Participating State water resource agencies, water 
        resources research institutes, and other relevant entities to 
        develop a study plan, timeline, and cost estimate for each 
        priority transboundary aquifer to be studied under the program.
            (2) Requirements.--A study plan developed under paragraph 
        (1) shall, to the maximum extent practicable--
                    (A) integrate existing data collection and analyses 
                conducted with respect to the priority transboundary 
                    (B) if applicable, improve and strengthen existing 
                groundwater flow models developed for the priority 
                transboundary aquifer; and
                    (C) be consistent with appropriate State guidelines 
                and goals.

SEC. 6. <<NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.>> EFFECT.

    (a) In General.--Nothing in this Act affects--
            (1) the jurisdiction or responsibility of a Participating 
        State with respect to managing surface or groundwater resources 
        in the Participating State;
            (2) the water rights of any person or entity using water 
        from a transboundary aquifer; or
            (3) State water law, or an interstate compact or 
        international treaty governing water.

    (b) Treaty.--Nothing in this Act shall delay or alter the 
implementation or operation of any works constructed, modified, 
acquired, or used within the territorial limits of the United States 
relating to the waters governed by the Treaty Between the United States 
and Mexico Regarding Utilization of Waters of the Colorado and Tijuana 
Rivers and of the Rio Grande, Treaty Series 994 (59 Stat. 1219).

SEC. 7. <<NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.>> REPORTS.

    Not later than 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act, and 
on completion of the program in fiscal year 2016, the Secretary shall 
submit to the appropriate water resource agency in the Participating 
States, an interim and final report, respectively, that describes--
            (1) any activities carried out under the program;
            (2) any conclusions of the Secretary relating to the status 
        of priority transboundary aquifers; and
            (3) the level of participation in the program of entities in 


    (a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry 
out this Act $50,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2007 through 
    (b) Distribution of Funds.--Of the amounts made available under 
subsection (a), 50 percent shall be made available to the water 
resources research institutes to provide funding to appropriate entities 
in the Participating States (including Sandia

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National Laboratories, State agencies, universities, the Tri-Regional 
Planning Group, and other relevant organizations) and to implement 
cooperative agreements entered into with appropriate entities in Mexico 
to conduct specific authorized activities in furtherance of the program, 
including the binational collection and exchange of scientific data.
    (c) Criteria.--Funding provided to an appropriate entity in Mexico 
pursuant to subsection (b) shall be contingent on that entity providing 
50 percent of the necessary resources (including in-kind services) to 
further assist in carrying out the authorized activity.

SEC. 9. <<NOTE: 42 USC 1962 note.>> SUNSET OF AUTHORITY.

    The authority of the Secretary to carry out any provisions of this 
Act shall terminate 10 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

    Approved December 22, 2006.


SENATE REPORTS: No. 109-17 (Comm. on Energy and Natural Resources).
                                                        Vol. 151 (2005):
                                    July 26, considered and passed 
                                                        Vol. 152 (2006):
                                    Dec. 6, considered and passed House, 
                                    Dec. 8, Senate concurred in House