Water Community Highlights Security During Drinking Water Week

DENVER , May 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Drinking Water Week concludes, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) joins water professionals across North America in encouraging community awareness of the importance of keeping our water supplies and systems secure.

Nearly seven years after the events of 9/11, water utilities are continually evaluating security measures and practices. "The water community remains vigilant in its commitment to secure our community water supplies," said Gary Zimmerman , executive director of the American Water Works Association. "Water utilities are investing in physical security, cyber-security and contaminant monitoring technologies. At the same time, utility emergency response planning has advanced significantly in recent years.

"It's important to remember that all of us have a role to play in protecting our water supplies and facilities," Zimmerman added. "If you see unusual activity by a water facility or at a hydrant, please don't hesitate to call the police."

Security continues to be a priority among water providers. Water professionals, security experts and emergency responders gathered April 6-8 in Cincinnati, Ohio , to discuss issues related to security at the fifth AWWA Water Security Congress. More than 50 manufacturers of security technologies were present to share the latest innovations with attendees. Among the new initiatives discussed at the congress is the "Roadmap to Secure Control Systems in the Water Sector," sponsored by AWWA and the Department of Homeland Security, which will help the water sector address challenges and prepare to mitigate cyber attacks.

While protecting water systems, utilities are also working with each other and partner agencies on responses in case of an intentional attack or natural disaster. AWWA's "Utilities Helping Utilities: An Action Plan for Mutual Aid and Assistance Networks for Water and Wastewater Utilities" provides guidance for utilities to develop and establish intrastate mutual aid and assistance networks. More information can be found at www.NationalWARN.org.

About Drinking Water Week

A safe, reliable water supply is critical to the success of any community. It creates jobs, attracts industry and investment, and provides for the health and welfare of citizens in ways ranging from disease prevention to fire suppression. For more than 30 years, the American Water Works Association and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week - a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together to recognize the vital role water plays in our daily lives.

Established in 1881, AWWA is the oldest and largest nonprofit, scientific and educational organization dedicated to safe water in North America . AWWA has more than 60,000 members worldwide and its 4,600 utility members serve 80 percent of the U.S. population.

AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. AWWA is the largest organization of water professionals in the world. AWWA advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the entire water community. Through our collective strength we become better stewards of water for the greatest good of the people and the environment.

CONTACT: Kylah Hedding of American Water Works Association, +1-303-347-614, khedding@awwa.org

SOURCE American Water Works Association