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Water Infrastructure Security

Water Security
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The objective of the "Water Infrastructure Surety / Security" is to develop measures to reduce the risks and mitigate the consequences of terrorist or other criminal attacks on the nation's water supply, treatment, and distribution systems.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency responsible for protecting the water supply, is collaborating with Sandia National Laboratories and the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AwwaRF) to develop a risk assessment methodology for assessing the vulnerability of water systems that serve the nation's 340 cities with 100,000 or more residents. Many are more than 60 years old and were built without particular concern for security.

Assessment tools are developed and being implemented in water utility facilities. The assessment tools stem from a performance-based vulnerability assessment methodology, initially developed by Sandia, to support the national nuclear security mission. It has since been modified to evaluate the vulnerability to terrorist attack of government buildings, air force bases, nuclear power plants, nuclear processing facilities, prisons, and federal dams. In general, assessment of the vulnerability of their water infrastructure consists of three major steps: detect, delay, and respond.

  • The first step is to determine how well the system detects a problem, which involves surveying all security and monitoring features.
  • The second one is to measure delay capabilities, in an effort to determine how well the system can stop undesired events.
  • The final step is to measure response capabilities - determining the capacity of private guard forces, and local, state, and federal authorities to respond.

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