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Title 43 Part 404 → Subpart A

Title 43 → Subtitle B → Chapter I → Part 404 → Subpart A

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 43 Part 404 → Subpart A

e-CFR data is current as of December 9, 2019

Title 43Subtitle BChapter IPart 404 → Subpart A


Title 43: Public Lands: Interior
PART 404—RECLAMATION RURAL WATER SUPPLY PROGRAM


Subpart A—Overview


Contents
§404.1   What is the purpose of this part?
§404.2   What terms are used in this part?
§404.3   What is the Reclamation Rural Water Supply Program?
§404.4   What are the goals of the program?
§404.5   Who is responsible for implementing this rule?
§404.6   Who is eligible to participate in the program?
§404.7   What types of projects are eligible for consideration under the program?
§404.8   Are there any exceptions that would allow a community with greater than 50,000 inhabitants to be part of an eligible rural water supply project?
§404.9   What types of infrastructure and facilities may be included in an eligible rural water supply project?
§404.10   Are there certain types of infrastructure and facilities that may not be included in a rural water supply project?
§404.11   What type of assistance is available under the program?
§404.12   Can Reclamation provide assistance with the construction of a rural water supply project under this program?
§404.13   What criteria will Reclamation use to prioritize requests for assistance under the program?
§404.14   How will Reclamation provide notice of opportunities for assistance under the program?
§404.15   How can I request assistance under the program?
§404.16   What information must I include in my statement of interest?
§404.17   How will Reclamation evaluate my statement of interest?
§404.18   How can I request assistance to conduct a feasibility study?
§404.19   What requirements must be met before I can request assistance to conduct a feasibility study?
§404.20   What information must I include in my full proposal to conduct an appraisal or a feasibility study?
§404.21   What is Reclamation's role in preparing the full proposal?
§404.22   How will Reclamation evaluate my full proposal?
§404.23   How will Reclamation determine whether you or your contractor is qualified to conduct an appraisal investigation or a feasibility study?
§404.24   How will Reclamation determine whether it is cost-effective for me or my contractor to conduct the appraisal investigation or feasibility study?
§404.25   How can I request Reclamation to review an appraisal investigation or feasibility study that was not completed under this program?
§404.26   Must an appraisal investigation be completed before I can request Reclamation to review a feasibility study that was not completed under this program?
§404.27   How will Reclamation evaluate my request to review an appraisal investigation or feasibility study completed without the support of Reclamation?
§404.28   Is it possible to expedite the completion of an appraisal investigation or feasibility study?
§404.29   Can the level of effort needed to complete an appraisal investigation or feasibility study be scaled to be proportional to the size and cost of the proposed project?

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§404.1   What is the purpose of this part?

The purpose of this part is to explain how the Reclamation Rural Water Supply Program is implemented. This part describes:

(a) The purpose and priorities of the program;

(b) How to apply for assistance under the program;

(c) How Reclamation will evaluate requests for assistance;

(d) How Reclamation will evaluate an appraisal investigation; and

(e) How Reclamation will evaluate a feasibility study.

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§404.2   What terms are used in this part?

The following terms are used in this part:

Appraisal investigation means an analysis of domestic, municipal, and industrial water supply problems, needs, and opportunities in the planning area, primarily using existing data. An appraisal investigation includes a preliminary assessment of alternatives to address the identified water supply problems and needs. The purpose of an appraisal investigation is to determine if there is at least one viable alternative that warrants a more detailed investigation through a feasibility study.

Appraisal report means the document, prepared by Reclamation, setting forth the findings and conclusions reached by Reclamation in its evaluation of a completed appraisal investigation. The purpose of the appraisal report is for Reclamation to provide a recommendation on whether a feasibility study should be initiated.

Assistance means the transfer of a thing of value to a non-Federal project sponsor to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by law. For purposes of this rule, assistance consists of funds provided by Reclamation through an assistance agreement (grant or cooperative agreement) and technical assistance performed by Reclamation, for the purpose of conducting an appraisal investigation or a feasibility study.

Commissioner means the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.

Feasibility report means the document, prepared by Reclamation, setting forth the findings and conclusions of a completed feasibility study. The purpose of the feasibility report is to provide an Administration recommendation to Congress regarding whether the proposed rural water supply project should be authorized for construction.

Feasibility study means a detailed investigation requiring the acquisition of primary data, and an analysis of a reasonable range of alternatives, including a preferred alternative, to meet identified water supply problems, needs, and opportunities in the planning area. A feasibility study also includes an analysis of the technical and economic feasibility of the proposed project, the impact of the proposed project on the environment in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and other applicable environmental laws, and the financial capability of the non-Federal project sponsor to pay the non-Federal costs associated with constructing, operating, and maintaining the rural water supply project. The completed feasibility study will form the basis for the recommendation to Congress in the feasibility report regarding whether the proposed rural water supply project should be authorized for construction.

Incidental noncommercial livestock watering means the supply of water to pasture taps for the purpose of watering livestock, and other livestock watering uses that are incidental to the purpose of the project.

Indian means a person who is a member of an Indian tribe.

Indian tribe means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group, or community, including pueblos, rancherias, colonies and any Alaska Native Village, or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

Noncommercial irrigation of vegetation means the supply of water to irrigate lawns, trees, small gardens, and similar vegetation of less than 1 acre.

Non-Federal project sponsor means a non-Federal project entity or entities meeting the eligibility criteria in §404.6. A non-Federal project sponsor is also referred to as project sponsor, project sponsors, I, me, my, you, or your in this part.

Program means the Reclamation Rural Water Supply Program that is described in §404.3.

Reclamation means the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Reclamation states means the states and areas referred to in 43 U.S.C. 391, as amended.

Regional or watershed perspective means an approach to rural water supply planning directed at meeting the needs of geographically dispersed localities across a region or a watershed that will take advantage of economies of scale and foster opportunities for partnerships. This approach also takes into account the interconnectedness of water and land resources, encourages the active participation of all interested groups, and uses the full spectrum of technical disciplines in activities and decision-making.

Rural Water Supply Project, or project, means:

(a) A project that is designed to serve a community or groups of communities, each of which has a current population of not more than 50,000 inhabitants, which may include Indian tribes and tribal organizations, dispersed home sites, or rural areas with domestic, municipal, and industrial water, including incidental noncommercial livestock watering and noncommercial irrigation of vegetation.

(b) A rural water supply project may include the following, or any combination of the following:

(1) The construction or installation of new rural water supply infrastructure and facilities;

(2) The improvement or upgrade of existing rural water supply infrastructure and facilities;

(3) The extension of existing rural water supply infrastructure and facilities to reach an increased service area; and

(4) The inter-connection of existing rural water supply infrastructure and facilities currently serving individual communities, dispersed homesites, rural areas, or tribes.

Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.

Tribal organization means:

(a) The recognized governing body of an Indian tribe; and

(b) Any legally established organization of Indians that is controlled, sanctioned, or chartered by the governing body, or democratically elected by the adult members of the Indian community to be served by the organization.

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§404.3   What is the Reclamation Rural Water Supply Program?

This program addresses domestic, municipal, and industrial water supply needs in rural areas of the Reclamation States. Reclamation's experience, technical expertise, and financial resources assist rural communities to identify their water supply problems and needs, and evaluate options for addressing those needs. Using a regional or watershed perspective, Reclamation assists in planning projects that maximize regional and national benefits. Through this program, Reclamation works in cooperation with non-Federal project sponsors in Reclamation States on a cost-share basis to:

(a) Investigate and identify opportunities to ensure safe and adequate rural water supplies for domestic, municipal, and industrial use in rural areas and small communities, including Indian tribes;

(b) Plan the design and construction of rural water supply projects through the conduct of appraisal investigations and feasibility studies; and

(c) Oversee, as appropriate, the construction of rural water supply projects that the Secretary recommends to Congress, which are subsequently authorized and funded for construction by Congress.

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§404.4   What are the goals of the program?

The goals of the program are to:

(a) Assess and address urgent and compelling rural water supply needs that are not currently met by other programs;

(b) Promote and apply a regional or watershed perspective to water resources management in planning rural water supply projects;

(c) Develop solutions to address rural water supply needs that are cost-effective, and that generate national net economic benefits as required under the “Economic Principles and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resources” (Principles and Guidelines). The Principles and Guidelines, published in 1983 by the Water Resources Council pursuant to the Water Resources Planning Act of 1965 (Pub. L. 89-80) as amended, is incorporated by reference into this section with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. The Principles and Guidelines are intended to ensure proper and consistent planning by Federal agencies in the formulation and evaluation of water and related land resources implementation studies. To enforce any edition other than that specified in this section, the material must be available to the public and approved by the Director of the Federal Register. All approved material is available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030 or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal__register/code__of__federal__regulations/ibr__locations.html. Also, a copy of this publication may be obtained and inspected at: Bureau of Reclamation, Denver Federal Center, Building 67, Denver, CO 80225, Policy and Program Services, 303-445-2906 where copies are on file, or at the following website: http://intra.gp.usbr.gov/resource__services/planning__process/principles__guidelines.pdf.

(d) Encourage partnerships among rural communities, Indian tribes or tribal organizations, states or political subdivisions of a state, water districts and associations, and other eligible entities, to address rural water supply issues; and

(e) Complement other existing programs and authorities that address rural water supply issues, and encourage collaboration between programs where appropriate.

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§404.5   Who is responsible for implementing this rule?

Authority to implement and make determinations under this rule has been delegated from the Secretary to the Commissioner. The Commissioner is authorized to implement this program and may re-delegate that authority as needed. Questions regarding the program should be directed to your local Reclamation office.

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§404.6   Who is eligible to participate in the program?

Those eligible to participate in the program include:

(a) A state or political subdivision of a state, including a department, agency, municipality, county, or other regional or local authority;

(b) An Indian tribe or tribal organization; or

(c) An entity created under state law that has water management or water delivery authority, including for example, an irrigation or water district, canal company, water users association, rural water association or district, a joint powers authority, or other qualifying entity; and

(d) Any combination of the entities listed above, which collectively are referred to as the non-Federal project sponsor, as defined in §404.2.

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§404.7   What types of projects are eligible for consideration under the program?

To be eligible for consideration under the program, a rural water supply project must:

(a) Meet the definition of a rural water supply project in §404.2; and

(b) Be located in a Reclamation State, as defined in §404.2.

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§404.8   Are there any exceptions that would allow a community with greater than 50,000 inhabitants to be part of an eligible rural water supply project?

Yes. A town or community with a population in excess of 50,000 inhabitants may participate in or be served by an eligible rural water supply project under this program if Reclamation determines that the town or community is a critical partner whose involvement substantially contributes to the financial viability of the proposed project. Such a community could be expected to bear a greater proportionate share of the planning, design, and construction costs than other project sponsors, consistent with their capability to pay and the benefits they derive from the project.

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§404.9   What types of infrastructure and facilities may be included in an eligible rural water supply project?

A rural water supply project may include, but is not limited to, the following types of infrastructure and facilities:

(a) Pumps, pipes, wells, surface water intakes and other diversion, transmission, or distribution systems;

(b) Storage tanks and small impoundments;

(c) Water treatment facilities for potable water supplies, including desalination facilities;

(d) Buildings necessary to house equipment and serve as a center for operations;

(e) Power transmission and related facilities required for the rural water supply project;

(f) Equipment and management tools for water conservation, groundwater recovery, and water reuse and recycling;

(g) Associated features to mitigate adverse environmental consequences of a project; and

(h) Appurtenances.

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§404.10   Are there certain types of infrastructure and facilities that may not be included in a rural water supply project?

Yes. A rural water supply project may not include:

(a) Any infrastructure or facilities that would deliver water for commercial irrigation; and

(b) The construction of major impoundment structures.

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§404.11   What type of assistance is available under the program?

Under the Reclamation Rural Water Supply Program, you may:

(a) Request Reclamation to conduct an appraisal investigation or feasibility study for a rural water supply project for you, with your cooperation;

(b) Request funding through a grant or cooperative agreement to enable you to conduct an appraisal investigation or feasibility study for a rural water supply project yourself, or through a contractor; or

(c) Request Reclamation to review and approve an appraisal investigation or feasibility study completed without assistance from Reclamation.

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§404.12   Can Reclamation provide assistance with the construction of a rural water supply project under this program?

Reclamation may provide assistance with the construction of a rural water supply project developed under this program if Congress specifically authorizes the project and appropriates funds for construction.

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§404.13   What criteria will Reclamation use to prioritize requests for assistance under the program?

All requests for assistance that meet the eligibility requirements in §§404.6 and 404.7 will be evaluated by applying the following prioritization criteria:

(a) Whether there is an urgent and compelling need for a rural water supply project that would:

(1) Address present or future water supply needs; or

(2) Promote public health and safety by addressing present and preventing future violations of drinking water standards;

(b) The extent to which a rural water supply project promotes and applies a regional or watershed perspective to water resources management as defined in §404.2;

(c) The financial need of the project sponsors for assistance with the planning, design, and construction of a rural water supply project, as demonstrated by readily available local and regional economic indicators;

(d) The extent to which Reclamation is uniquely qualified to plan, design, and build the project;

(e) Whether a rural water supply project helps meet applicable requirements established by law;

(f) The extent to which a rural water supply project serves Indian tribes that have nonexistent or inadequate water systems;

(g) The extent to which a rural water supply project is ineligible for comprehensive funding (sufficient to fully fund planning and construction of the entire project) through other assistance programs;

(h) The extent to which a rural water supply project is identified as a priority by state, tribal or local governments;

(i) Whether a rural water supply project incorporates an innovative approach that effectively addresses water supply problems and needs, either by applying new technology or by employing a creative administrative or cooperative solution; and

(j) Other criteria that Reclamation deems appropriate.

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§404.14   How will Reclamation provide notice of opportunities for assistance under the program?

Notice of opportunities for assistance to conduct an appraisal investigation or a feasibility study under §404.11(a) or (b) will be posted as a program announcement on the required government-wide Web site for announcement of Federal assistance opportunities. Opportunities for assistance will also be advertised locally by Reclamation regional and area offices. You are encouraged to contact your local Reclamation office to find out about upcoming program announcements and to discuss your interest in the program.

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§404.15   How can I request assistance under the program?

This table summarizes the requirements for requesting assistance under the program. The requirements are described in more detail in the sections that follow.

Type of assistance requestedHow to request assistance
1. Request Reclamation to conduct an appraisal investigationSubmit a statement of interest as described in §404.16. Reclamation will then advise you whether you are eligible to submit a full proposal.
2. Request funding to conduct an appraisal investigation yourself or through a contractorSubmit a statement of interest as described in §404.16. Reclamation will then advise you whether you are eligible to submit a full proposal.
3. Request Reclamation to conduct a feasibility studySubmit a full proposal as described in §404.20.
4. Request funding to conduct a feasibility study yourself or through a contractorSubmit a full proposal as described in §404.20.
5. Request Reclamation to review and approve an appraisal investigation or a feasibility study completed without Reclamation assistanceSubmit the investigation or study and a cover letter to your local Reclamation office, as described in §404.25.

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§404.16   What information must I include in my statement of interest?

A statement of interest is a preliminary scope of work that must include sufficient information to address all of the eligibility criteria described in §§404.6 and 404.7 and the prioritization criteria in §404.13, as well as any information required by the program announcement. In general, this may include, but is not limited to:

(a) Name, organization, and contact information, including the identification of any partners that may be involved in the appraisal investigation;

(b) Location map and description of the areas to be served by the proposed rural water supply project, including:

(1) Geographical scope;

(2) Demographics; and

(3) Existing rural water supply infrastructure, if any;

(c) Type of assistance being requested through this program as described in §404.11;

(d) A general description of the problems, needs, and opportunities that the appraisal investigation is being formulated to address, supported by data or documentation where appropriate. The information provided must also address each of the prioritization criteria in §404.13;

(e) A general description of project alternatives that may be considered in the investigation, including:

(1) Water supply management alternatives (e.g., types of infrastructure or facilities to deliver new water supplies), if known;

(2) Water demand management alternatives (e.g., water conservation and other approaches to reduce water consumption), if known; and

(3) Potential sources of water supply.

(f) A general description of any prior studies on the problems, needs, and water management alternatives at issue; and,

(g) A general description of existing sources of water supply.

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§404.17   How will Reclamation evaluate my statement of interest?

(a) Reclamation will apply the eligibility requirements in §§404.6 and 404.7 and the prioritization criteria in §404.13, to determine whether the proposed rural water supply project is eligible for further consideration through a full proposal;

(b) If the proposed project is not eligible for further consideration, Reclamation will notify you in writing of that outcome; and,

(c) If the proposed project is eligible for further consideration, Reclamation will notify you in writing that you are eligible to develop a full proposal to conduct an appraisal investigation, as described in §404.20.

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§404.18   How can I request assistance to conduct a feasibility study?

To request assistance to conduct a feasibility study under §404.11(a) or (b), consistent with Reclamation's recommendation in an appraisal report, you must submit a full proposal to conduct a feasibility study in response to the program announcement, pursuant to §404.20. You are not required to submit a statement of interest.

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§404.19   What requirements must be met before I can request assistance to conduct a feasibility study?

All of the following requirements must be met before you can request assistance to conduct a feasibility study:

(a) An appraisal investigation must be completed, with or without assistance from Reclamation;

(b) Reclamation must have reviewed any appraisal investigation prepared without its assistance;

(c) Reclamation must have prepared an appraisal report evaluating the appraisal investigation; and,

(d) The appraisal report must include a recommendation by Reclamation, if appropriate, that a feasibility study should be conducted, as described in §404.45.

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§404.20   What information must I include in my full proposal to conduct an appraisal or a feasibility study?

A full proposal to conduct an appraisal investigation or a feasibility study is a detailed scope of work that must include sufficient information to address the eligibility criteria described in §§404.6 and 404.7, and the prioritization criteria in §404.13. In general this may include, but is not limited to:

(a) The issues to be addressed in the appraisal investigation or feasibility study and a plan for addressing those issues. The information provided must also address each of the prioritization criteria in §404.13;

(b) A description of who will conduct the appraisal investigation or feasibility study, which could include you, your contractor, or Reclamation;

(c) If you propose that either you or your contractor will conduct the appraisal investigation or feasibility study, you must include the information necessary for Reclamation to determine whether you or your contractor are qualified to conduct the investigation or study, and whether having you or your contractor conduct it is a cost-effective alternative, in accordance with the criteria in §§404.23 and 404.24;

(d) A schedule for conducting the work, identifying specific tasks and the duration of each task, and major milestones with dates for each milestone;

(e) A complete budget for conducting the appraisal investigation or feasibility study, including an itemized tabular summary of known or expected costs and a narrative description of those costs;

(f) A funding plan that details how the appraisal investigation or feasibility study will be paid for, taking into consideration applicable assistance and non-Federal cost-share requirements; and

(g) Any other information requested by Reclamation in the program announcement.

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§404.21   What is Reclamation's role in preparing the full proposal?

(a) If you are requesting Reclamation to prepare an appraisal investigation or feasibility study on your behalf under §404.11(a), Reclamation will work with you on a collaborative basis to provide the information requested in §404.20(a), (b), (d), (e) and (f).

(b) If you are requesting funding through a grant or cooperative agreement under §404.11(b), Reclamation will be available to provide you with guidance and assistance in preparing your full proposal, upon request.

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§404.22   How will Reclamation evaluate my full proposal?

(a) Reclamation will evaluate the full proposal to conduct an appraisal or a feasibility study in order to ensure that it meets the requirements in §404.20 and is, therefore, complete. Reclamation will notify you in writing of the outcome of this determination.

(b) If it is complete, Reclamation will evaluate your proposal against all other proposals received, using a competitive review process based on an application of the prioritization criteria in §404.13.

(c) Full proposals will be selected for award of assistance based on:

(1) The evaluation process, as described in §404.22(b); and

(2) The availability of appropriations; and

(3) Other criteria that Reclamation deems appropriate.

(d) Once the proposal evaluation and selection process is complete, you will be notified in writing of the outcome of your request for assistance.

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§404.23   How will Reclamation determine whether you or your contractor is qualified to conduct an appraisal investigation or a feasibility study?

If you are requesting funding under §404.11(b) to conduct an appraisal investigation or a feasibility study yourself or though a contractor, Reclamation will evaluate whether you, your technical staff, or contractor are qualified to perform the appraisal investigation or feasibility study based on their demonstrated qualifications and experience in performing or managing similar activities. Areas of expertise needed may include, but are not limited to, water management planning, engineering, hydrology, biology, demography, finance, and economics.

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§404.24   How will Reclamation determine whether it is cost-effective for me or my contractor to conduct the appraisal investigation or feasibility study?

Reclamation will take the following steps to determine whether it is cost-effective for you or your contractor to conduct the appraisal investigation or feasibility study:

(a) Reclamation will review and evaluate the reasonableness of your full proposal, including the scope of work, the estimated costs, anticipated work schedule, and products to be delivered;

(b) At its discretion, Reclamation may also choose to prepare an independent government cost estimate to analyze whether it would be more cost-effective for Reclamation to complete the appraisal investigation or feasibility study;

(c) Reclamation will notify you in writing of its determination regarding the cost-effectiveness of your proposal and the basis for its decision.

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§404.25   How can I request Reclamation to review an appraisal investigation or feasibility study that was not completed under this program?

(a) To request Reclamation to review an appraisal investigation or feasibility study that was not completed under this program as provided under §404.11(c), you must submit the appraisal investigation or feasibility study to your local Reclamation office with a cover letter requesting Reclamation to review it.

(b) Your cover letter must address the eligibility criteria set forth in §§404.6 and 404.7 and the prioritization criteria in §404.13.

(c) You may make your submittal at any time and are not required to submit a statement of interest in response to the program announcement, as required for requests to conduct an appraisal investigation or feasibility study under §404.11(a) or (b).

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§404.26   Must an appraisal investigation be completed before I can request Reclamation to review a feasibility study that was not completed under this program?

In general, Reclamation must review an appraisal investigation and prepare an appraisal report recommending that a feasibility study be conducted before Reclamation can review a feasibility study completed without Reclamation assistance under §404.11(c). However, Reclamation may review a feasibility study without first reviewing and approving an appraisal investigation, if Reclamation determines that:

(a) No appraisal investigation was prepared for the project;

(b) The feasibility study satisfies the appraisal criteria set forth in §404.44; and

(c) Reclamation documents these findings in the feasibility report.

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§404.27   How will Reclamation evaluate my request to review an appraisal investigation or feasibility study completed without the support of Reclamation?

(a) Upon receipt of your submittal, Reclamation will apply the eligibility criteria in §§404.6 and 404.7 and the prioritization criteria in §404.13, to determine whether the appraisal investigation or feasibility study is eligible to be reviewed under the program. Reclamation will notify you in writing of the outcome of this determination.

(b) If the proposed appraisal investigation or feasibility study is eligible for review, Reclamation will evaluate the investigation or study in accordance with the process set forth in §404.43, for an appraisal investigation, or §404.48, for a feasibility study.

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§404.28   Is it possible to expedite the completion of an appraisal investigation or feasibility study?

Yes. If Reclamation determines that a community or groups of communities to be served by a proposed rural water supply project has urgent and compelling water needs, Reclamation will, to the maximum extent practicable, expedite appraisal investigations and reports and feasibility studies and reports conducted under this program.

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§404.29   Can the level of effort needed to complete an appraisal investigation or feasibility study be scaled to be proportional to the size and cost of the proposed project?

Yes. In general, the level of effort for an appraisal investigation or feasibility study should be scaled to take into consideration the total size, cost, and complexity of the proposed rural water supply project in order to reduce the total cost of the investigation or study. However, the effort to scale the appraisal investigation or feasibility study must not diminish the quality of the data, the analysis, or the overall completeness of the investigation or study.

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