This page provides emergency preparedness, mutual aid, and drought assistance resources for public water and wastewater utilities in Washington State. It is part of MRSC's series on Emergency Management and Disaster Planning.
Water Security and Emergency Preparedness
Title IV of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act, signed in 2002, requires community water systems serving a population of more than 3,300 to complete a vulnerability assessment and prepare or revise emergency response plans that incorporate the results. For guidance, see the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publication Emergency Response Plan Guidance for Small and Medium Community Water Systems.
The EPA also provides extensive information on Emergency/Incident Planning, Response, and Recovery to help water and wastewater utilities prepare for and react to emergencies. This includes information on planning, training, and crisis communications, as well as emergency response checklists.
The Washington Department of Health page on Emergency Response and Security provides additional publications and a water security checklist to help water providers secure their water supply, as well as emergency phone contacts in case an emergency occurs.
The Washington Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (WAWARN) allows public and private water and wastewater utilities to directly assist one another during an emergency. Before using this service, utilities must complete a membership application and submit a mutual aid agreement. During an emergency, WAWARN members may request equipment and personnel from other member agencies.
The State of Washington provides emergency assistance for local water systems during droughts. For more information, see:
For information on water conservation during droughts, see Water Shortage Use Restrictions.
- Department of Health: Emergency Response and Security – Publications, water security checklist, and emergency phone contacts for water utilities
- Environmental Protection Agency: Emergency/Incident Planning, Response, and Recovery – Information on planning, training, and crisis communications, as well as emergency response checklists
- American Water Works Association: Water Knowledge – Reports, webinars, and other resources on emergency preparedness, drought, source water protection, and other topics (free registration required)
- Water Environment Foundation: Water Security Research and Reports – Guidance on reducing risks, cybersecurity, security devices, and emergency response
- National Environmental Services Center: Security for Small Wastewater Systems – Links to helpful reports and free software programs to assess vulnerabilities and prepare for emergencies