Over the past few years, ASDWA’s Security Committee has been engaged in developing tools that provide low or no cost ways for state drinking water programs and their water community partners to support water utilities (and their own programs) in the collective and ongoing effort to better prepared and more resilient in the face of water emergencies of all sorts.
One tool is appropriate for states, member organizations, assistance providers and utilities – especially smaller systems. The tool, Water Emergency Roundtable – Outline for Discussion, creates a step-by-step process for a one-day shirt-sleeves discussion on what a community can or should do in the event of an emergency that either severely diminishes the available water supply or shuts the supply off completely. The Outline Guide offers tips, scripts, and templates on how to organize such a discussion, who to invite, what materials may be needed, topics that may be discussed, and what sort of follow up would be helpful to the community after the discussion takes place.
This is a low cost approach, which would be helpful in enhancing collaborative partnerships among state drinking water programs, water utility organizations, and the communities that they both support. It would also go a long way toward helping those communities better engage with their own emergency and utility service providers to create an effective and efficient foundation for community resiliency.
Most recently, the Committee has partnered with EPA’s Water Security Division to host webinars in 2014 to showcase how states are collaborating with their WARN programs; how state labs can design a Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan; and demonstrate how state drinking water programs are partnering with their emergency management counterparts. Information on all of these webinars can be found on ASDWA’s website www.asdwa.org under the Security tab.
The Committee has also developed targeted tools for state drinking water programs to use to enhance their own preparedness, responsiveness, and resilience in times of crisis.
BRIDGING THE GAP: Coordination Between State Primacy Agencies and State Emergency Management Agencies focuses on collaborative opportunities between state primacy and emergency management agencies when an incident requires state involvement. The document highlights the need to consider water as part of an effective emergency response; the value that state primacy agencies can provide both before and during an emergency; and a quick checklist of topics that should be discussed when a primacy agency meets with their emergency management counterparts.
STATE DRINKING WATER PROGRAM All Hazards Preparedness, Mitigation, Response and Recovery Checklist provides state drinking water programs with a checklist of actions that should be considered before, during, and after an emergency. The document offers recommended actions that every state drinking water program should be able to undertake and implement to support and sustain public health protection.
Please take a few moments to look at these tools. Think about whether you can make changes within your own program to improve your resilience. Maybe one or more of these can help.