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Security and Emergency Management for Water Systems

 Security and Emergency Management for Water Systems

Security and Emergency Management for Water Systems


Water utilities have the legal responsibility of providing to their customers an adequate supply of safe, high-quality drinking water that meets local, state and federal standards (AWWA 2001). Emergencies arising from natural disasters, accidents, or intentional acts can disrupt water system delivery and quality for prolonged periods as shown in Figure 1-1.

These interruptions in supply and quality can have undesirable consequences for the water utility, including legal liabilities and reduced support from consumers. A culture of security and emergency management is therefore necessary for water systems to reliably provide the required water to their customers.

Tremendous Cost of Disaster Response and Recovery Historically, the costs of natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Figure 1-2, have been astronomical in terms of the loss of human life, building stock, and lifelines (the infrastructure of networks and facilities that provide essential services such as water, wastewater, and electricity). However, very little progress has been made in preparing for, preventing, or limiting the consequences of disasters (Grigg 2002).

Hurricane Katrina (see Figure 1-3) clearly indicated in 2005 that the current emergency response system in the United States could not deal with a major city being taken offline. The failures in facilities, communications, cooperation, and culture were tremendous. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimated that the drinking water infrastructure portion of the bill approved by the U.S. Senate for hurricane relief was a staggering 2.25 billion dollars (Hoffbuhr 2005 ).


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