Washington (March 6, 2023) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) today introduced the Water System Threat Preparedness and Resilience Act, legislation that would provide funding for clean water and wastewater utilities to become members of the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center (WaterISAC). The WaterISAC is a critical source of information and best practices for water systems to protect against, mitigate, and respond to threats. Today, while roughly 50 percent of larger water utilities have joined WaterISAC, less than one-tenth of one percent of smaller utilities are WaterISAC members. The Water System Threat Preparedness and Resilience Act would help correct this shortcoming by directing the Environmental Protection Agency to create a new grant program that would help cover the dues in WaterISAC.
“The water that we use to drink, take a shower, wash our dishes, and cook our meals is essential to life for communities across our nation,” said Senator Markey. “Yet, from extreme weather to terrorism to cyberattacks, our water systems face increasingly complicated threats. My Water System Threat Preparedness and Resilience Act will help secure our water systems against these threats by expanding access to the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a critical tool to help water utilities of all sizes share information, best practices, and response techniques. I thank Congresswoman Schakowsky for her partnership on this proposal.”
“As the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events increase and cyber security threats against our infrastructure emerge, we must work together to protect our nation’s water systems,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. "I am proud to join Senator Ed Markey in introducing the Water System Threat Preparedness and Resilience Act. This bill will help assist local water systems in gaining access to the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center (WaterISAC), a non-profit clearinghouse for information regarding threats to water safety. This kind of information sharing is critical to ensuring the health and safety of communities’ drinking water across the country.”
A copy of the bill text can be found HERE:
The Water System Threat Preparedness and Resilience Act is endorsed by American Water Works Association, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, National Association of Water Companies, and Water Environment Federation.
“WaterISAC has been an invaluable tool in helping public wastewater and drinking water utilities better prepare and mitigate against the risks posed by increasing natural hazards, as well as physical and cyber security threats,” said Adam Krantz, CEO of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. “The Water System Threat Preparedness and Resilience Act will help ensure more widespread participation among utilities of all sizes in the WaterISAC and enhance the critical tools and resources it provides.”
“Whether it is extreme weather events, physical security risks, or cyber threats, the nation’s drinking water and wastewater utilities face a daunting environment,” said Tom Dobbins, CEO of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies. “WaterISAC is a resource that keeps water utility professionals informed about the latest threats and recommended response actions, and the Water System Threat Preparedness and Resilience Act will enable even more utilities to take advantage of this critical service.”
“While WaterISAC member utilities currently serve about 60 percent of the U.S. population, only about 400 of the nation’s nearly 50,000 community water systems and 16,000 wastewater systems are paying WaterISAC members that enjoy full access to all of the nonprofit’s threat and vulnerability alerts, subject matter expertise, and other information,” said John P. Sullivan, Chief Engineer of the Boston Water and Sewer Commission and Chairman of the WaterISAC Board of Managers. “Increased federal efforts to support WaterISAC participation and to increase awareness of the center would help get threat information and best practices into more hands across the country.”
Last December, Senator Markey secured federal investments in Massachusetts water resources and infrastructure projects so that residents can access safe, reliable, and clean drinking water. Last November, Senator Markey called on Holtec to publicly follow the Environmental Protect Agency’s regulations on not illegally disgorging effluent water from Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station into Cape Cod Bay without prior authorization by modifying its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Last October, Senator Markey helped secure nearly $2.5 million in federal funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Safe and Clean Communities Grant Program for the UMass Lowell’s clean drinking water project.