CRWU Videos Demonstrate How to Consider Climate/Extreme Weather

EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) initiative’s mission is to provide resources for drinking water, wastewater, and storm water utilities to adapt to climate change by promoting a clear understanding of climate science and adaptation options.

Most recently, the CRWU Team has developed a series of videos that demonstrate how small and large, drinking water and wastewater, urban and rural systems have begun to plan ahead to be better prepared to manage extreme weather events.  Watch how these community drinking water and wastewater utilities are responding to extreme events and planning for their climate futures:

These utilities and thousands more across the nation are experiencing the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. Many are taking action now to reduce their vulnerability and increase their resilience to a changing climate.  In 2015, EPA partnered with and assisted more than 20 communities as they completed their first climate risk assessment using EPA’s Climate Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT).  Visit the EPA Climate Ready Water Utilities website to learn more.

 

 

Paid Internship Opportunity at EPA

Do you (or do you know someone) want to explore issues related to climate change…and get paid for doing so?  We may have just the opportunity that you’ve been looking for!

A postgraduate internship is available at EPA’s Water Security Division in Washington, DC under the Division’s Climate Ready Water Utilities initiative. The internship is offered through EPA’s agreement with the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Environment (ORISE).  The appointment is full-time for a one-year period but may be renewed for an additional two years depending on the availability of funding and upon recommendation of EPA. The annual stipend will range from $43,057 to $63,722 depending on degree.

A more complete job description (reference EPA Water 2015-359) is available on the ORISE website at: http://orise.orau.gov/epa/applicants/description.aspx?JobId=18561. An application for the position can be found at http://orise.orau.gov/epa/applicants/application.htm.  More information about EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities project is at www.epa.gov/climatereadyutilities.

Questions?  Please contact EPA’s Mike Maier at maier.michael@epa.gov.

 

Are Your Communities “Wildfire Ready”?

Wildfires seem to be frequently in the news these days.  States west of the Mississippi and up in Alaska seem to have experienced an unusually high number of wildfires already this year.  But wildfires can happen anywhere.  Are your water systems ready?

Did you know that EPA’s Water Security Division has prepared a Wildfire Incident Action Checklist specifically targeted toward water utilities and actions they should consider in the event of a wildfire?  The Checklist offers helpful recommendations for advance planning (develop a GIS map of system components), communications (make sure your customers understand water advisories), coordination with local agencies (know what kind of fire suppression chemicals your fire department may use and its potential impact on water supply quality), documentation (check your power requirements), and collaboration (explore joining your state’s WARN for mutual aid)?

The Checklist also provides useful resource links like FEMA’s Wildfire Preparedness link via Ready.gov; Fire Weather and Forecasting Tools from the National Weather Service; and a document titled Private Wells after the Fire – A private well owner’s guide to protecting your drinking water sources prepared by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.  There are numerous other links, tasks, and recommendations included in the Checklist.

You can download a shareable version of the Checklist by clicking Wildfire Incident Action Checklist.  Please let your water utilities know about this easy-to-use tool so they can be better prepared in the event of a wildfire incident.

WSD has created checklists for use in a wide range of natural disasters – floods, droughts, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, extreme heat, and others – all designed for water utilities.  Each Checklist provides concise lists of key preparedness, response and recovery actions that can be taken, as well as valuable resources related to monitoring, forecasting and planning.  To take a look at the full array of checklists and other planning and preparedness tools such as the On-the-Go Mobile Website or the Flood Resiliency Guide, go to: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/emerplan/index.cfm#pp29

Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community (C3) Hosts Risk Management Webinar

The C3 Voluntary Program is hosting the next installment of its 2015 Webinar Series.  To meet growing technological needs and to protect against evolving cyber threats, this month’s topic focuses on increasing awareness, encouraging information sharing, adopting best practices, and promoting a shared sense of responsibility for cybersecurity among our Nation’s small and midsized businesses (SMB). While not specifically aimed at the water community, there are likely to be good data and strategies to be shared.

DATE:              August 19, 2015

TIME:               1:00-2:30PM (eastern)

DIAL:   1-888-989-8177/8976024

HSIN LINK:      https://share.dhs.gov/ccubedvp-webinar8/ (enter as a guest)

RSVP:       Email your name and affiliation to CCubedVP@hq.dhs.gov by August 18, 2015.

During this webinar, presenters will discuss cyber risk management programs and best practices for SMBs, including identifying the most common cyber vulnerabilities, how to conduct a Cybersecurity Resilience Review (CRR), how to begin to approach the NIST Framework, and free resources made available from both the public and private sectors, especially, the newly developed C3Voluntary Program SMB toolkit, a suite of resources specially designed to help SMBs recognize and address their cybersecurity risks.

More information on the C3 Voluntary Program can be found at: https://www.us-cert.gov/ccubedvp.  Previous webinar recordings can be found at: https://www.us-cert.gov/ccubedvp/press

 

Hurricane Resources and FEMA Hazard Mitigation Funding for Water Utilities

 

Hurricane season began on June 1, 2015, but there’s still time to prepare. EPA’s Water Security Division wants to remind water and wastewater utilities about the free tools that support hurricane and disaster preparedness.

REMINDER: Application Deadline – 8/28/15 for Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Grants:  Utilities can now apply for FEMA HMA grants for projects that increase resilience to hurricanes and other hazards.

http://www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance

Hurricane Incident Action Checklist:  Print and share these “rip and run” checklists to take action before, during, and after the storm.

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/emerplan/upload/epa817f15006.pdf

Storm Surge Inundation and Hurricane Strike Frequency Map:  Find out worst-case coastal storm surge scenarios and hurricane strike frequency for your area.

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/stormsurge.cfm

Fed FUNDS – Find Funding:  Federal Funding for Utilities – Water/Wastewater – in National Disasters helps identify pre- and post-disaster funding opportunities and explains how to apply.

Watch Video: Fed FUNDS Overview

Flood Resilience Guide:  Easy-to-use tool that leads utilities through a four-step process to help them understand their flood risks and identify mitigation options.

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/emerplan/upload/ epa817b14006.pdf

 

 

States and WARNs Highlights Fact Sheet Now Available

States and WARNs Highlights Fact Sheet Now Available

ASDWA’s Security Committee and EPA’s Water Security Division have just brought their three-phase collaborative partnership to look at state drinking water programs’ relationship with state WARNs to a close.  The State WARN Perspectives Highlights fact sheet has just been posted on the EPA WSD web page dedicated to Emergency/Incident Planning, Response and Recovery.

The document, part of the larger “States and WARNs Working Together” series, offers insights into the various methods that state drinking water programs use to support the WARN programs.  It also showcases several successful State-WARN collaborations that may inspire other states and WARNs to work more closely together.  Examples describe how these partnerships have grown through state support for the inclusion of WARNs in emergency operations centers, the recruiting of members, funding opportunities and development of trainings/exercises.

Click States and WARNs Working Together to view or download the document.

ASDWA also encourages you to visit the EPA WSD Emergency/Incident Planning, Response and Recovery web page http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/emerplan/index.cfm#pp31 to look at the number and variety of tools, fact sheets, and exercises that you can use in your work with water systems to improve their resiliency.

Cyber Best Practices

Editor’s Note: Looking for a good reason to join the WaterISAC?  The information below reflects the type of work and quality of effort that goes into WaterISAC products…and it has practical, on the ground value for drinking water utilities of all sizes.

The WaterISAC has just published 10 Basic Cybersecurity Measures: Best Practices to Reduce Exploitable Weaknesses and Attacks, which provides recommended steps water and wastewater utilities can take to defend themselves in the cyber environment. Each recommended measure includes a description and links to corresponding technical resources.

The document is an updated version of the August 2012 10 Basic Cybersecurity Measures to Reduce Exploitable Weaknesses and Attacks guide. The updated document was developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), the FBI, and the Information Technology (IT) ISAC. WaterISAC also acknowledges the Multi-State (MS) ISAC for its contributions to the document.

In reviewing cyber incident reports for 2014, ICS-CERT noted that if the affected entities had implemented the first three recommendations in the Best Practices Guide, they likely would have detected the issues, prevented the vulnerabilities, and averted the resulting impacts related to those incidents.

Please share this Guide with your water systems.  This information can be a critically useful tool in helping the drinking water community better defend itself against cyber attacks and intrusions.

EPA Hosting COOP Template Training for Labs Webinar

Our colleagues at EPA’s Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) Team invite you and your drinking water and wastewater laboratory colleagues to join the upcoming WLA Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Template Training Webcast.

DATE:  July 7, 2015

TIME:   1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/wla/training.cfm

The webcast will provide an overview of the COOP Template for Drinking Water and Wastewater Laboratories developed by EPA’s WLA Team and will also demonstrate how the COOP Template fillable form can be used by laboratories to develop a personalized COOP.  State drinking water programs should collaborate with state labs to make sure that their respective COOPs are aligned and harmonized for maximum efficiency.

The template helps create a plan that contains information to:

  • Establish policies and procedures to assure continuous performance of laboratory testing
  • Provide communication and direction to stakeholders
  • Minimize the loss of assets, resources, critical records and data
  • Reduce or mitigate disruptions to the laboratory’s operation
  • Effectively manage the immediate response to an emergency

Please share this announcement with your laboratory colleagues.

Questions?  Please contact Colin Johnson (johnson.colin@epa.gov) or the WLA Team at WLA@epa.gov.

NIST Releases Update of Industrial Control Systems Security Guide

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued the second revision to its Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security.   The revisions include new guidance on how to tailor traditional IT security controls to accommodate unique ICS performance, reliability and safety requirements, as well as updates to sections on threats and vulnerabilities, risk management, recommended practices, security architectures and security capabilities and tools.

A significant addition in this revision is a new ICS overlay offering tailored guidance on how to adapt and apply security controls and control enhancements.  Using the ICS overlay, utilities, chemical companies, food manufacturers, and other ICS users can adapt and refine these security controls to address their specialized security needs.

More specific information, and the Guide itself, are available from the following links:

 

DATE CHANGE – C3 Webinar

 

 

The date for the Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community C³ (pronounced “C Cubed”) Voluntary Program webinar to discuss cyber resources for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial (SLTT) Governments has been changed to June 18.  Other details – time, access, and registration links – remain the same.  The original notice for this event appeared in Security Notes on May 28, 2015.

DATE:  June 18, 2015

TIME:   1:00-2:30PM (eastern)

DIAL:   1-888-790-2013/PIN 5376908

LINK:   https://share.dhs.gov/ccubedvp-webinar6/ (Enter as a Guest on the date of the event)

NOTE: You must register for this event.  If you have already registered, your access should still be good despite the date change.  If you would like to register (and have not done so earlier) please email your name and affiliation to CCubedVP@hq.dhs.gov by June 17, 2015.

More information on the C3 Voluntary Program can be found at: https://www.us-cert.gov/ccubedvp.