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Water: Water Security

National Performance Measures

The water sector has developed a suite of national performance measures (also called metrics) for drinking water and wastewater utilities, governments, and water associations to help gauge progress on national preparedness and security. The sector will use the data to recognize past achievements and plan future work. Individual utilities can use these metrics to track individual progress.

National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) Recommendations

In June 2005, the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) recommended three national aggregate measures of water security progress:

  1. Implementation of “active and effective” security programs as measured by the degree of implementation of program features and corresponding feature-specific measures.

  2. Reduction in security risk as measured by the total number of high security-risk assets and the number of high security-risk assets lowered to medium or low risk (based on the results of vulnerability assessments).

  3. Reduction in the inherent risk potential of utility operations as measured by Clean Air Act Section 112 (r) reporting on hazardous substances and the number of utilities that covert from gaseous chlorine to other forms of chlorine or other treatment methods.

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Please refer to Section IV in the full report, Recommendations of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Water Security Practices, Incentives, and Measures PDF (110pp, 616K) for additional information on these recommended national measures.

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Measures Testing Group (MTG)

In January 2006, USEPA formed the Measures Testing Group (MTG) for National Aggregate Measures of Water Security. The MTG was comprised of representatives from small, medium, and large drinking water and wastewater utilities and representatives from state primacy agencies. The MTG was not a consensus group; their charge was to identify and evaluate implementation options for further consideration. Their findings are codified in a final report titled, Findings of the Measures Testing Group for National Aggregate Measures of Water Security.

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Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) Metrics Workgroup

In February 2007, the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) Metrics Workgroup was convened by the Water Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) and Government Coordinating Council (GCC), to develop a national performance measurement system. The Workgroup consisted of 16 members from state agencies, local water and wastewater utilities, EPA, Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), Dept. of Health and Human Services, and water sector associations.

In June 2008, the CIPAC Metrics Workgroup completed their development of metrics to measure water sector security, resiliency and preparedness. The Workgroup also recommended how measures will be reported, who will collect and retain information, and how it will be protected. These recommendations have been approved by the SCC and GCC.

The Workgroup recommendations prescribed focusing initial data collection on a subset of “core” metrics, with the remaining measures proposed for optional, utility self-assessment purposes. The self-assessment measures will be available for utility internal, but will not be connected to national reporting.

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Utility Core Metrics

Below are examples of each:

Activity: Number and percentage of utilities that have integrated security and preparedness into budgeting, training, and manpower responsibilities.

Risk Reduction: Percent of utilities that can meet minimum daily demand with their primary production/treatment plant non-functional.

Hazardous Chemicals: Number and percent of utilities with physical and/or procedural controls in place to safeguard hazardous chemicals.

Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities can report on the core metrics by going to:

The complete set of utility core metrics can be found on page 7 in the workgroup’s final report

Utility Self Assessment Questions

These self-assessment questions would be clearly labeled as optional questions and would be separate from the national measurement questions in the utility reporting tool. Below are 3 summary examples:

  • How long can you currently meet 100% of minimum daily demand with stored finish water?
  • What is your current average number of response capable backup people for critical operation and maintenance positions?
  • To what extent have you set priorities and planned for a reduced service event?

The complete set of utility self assessment questions can be found on page 14 in the workgroup’s final report.

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Other Actor Metrics

“Other actors” are entities in the water sector that are accountable for achieving security and preparedness goals and who are not utilities. State and federal government agencies and water sector associations are examples of other actors.
Below are 3 example metrics for other actors.

  1. Water associations: Priority and type of mutual aid and assistance enabling activities conducted by the association.

  2. Public utility commissions: Number and percentage of public utility commissions that have designated personnel or a method in place to discuss security costs and issues with water and/or wastewater utilities.

  3. EPA: Whether or not EPA has developed an evaluation system for contaminant warning systems.

The complete set of other actor metrics can be found on page 18 in the workgroup’s final report.

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Data Collection

The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) has developed a reporting tool Exit EPA Disclaimer that includes a series of questions for utilities that correspond to the national core metrics. Data will be collected from utilities and stored in a secure database. A PIN code system will be used to protect utility identity, but allow for quality control of the data submitted.

The Workgroup recommendations prescribed focusing initial data collection on a subset of “core” metrics, with the remaining measures proposed for optional, utility self-assessment purposes. The self-assessment measures will be available for utility internal use through the AMWA’s tool, but will not be connected to national reporting.

The reporting tool will also use a series of data aggregation protocols, governing how the collected data may be aggregated and reported nationally to other interested parties, including EPA and DHS. The data aggregation protocols will be designed to ensure that the identity of individual utilities cannot be revealed through the combination of data (such as by combining utility size and state locator data).

Initial outreach will focus on acquiring data from small, medium, and large size systems. AMWA will promote the survey questions to utilities in conjunction with other water sector associations.

Initial data collection is currently underway Exit EPA Disclaimer , with a report on the results available by the end of 2008.

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Final Report and More Information

Recommended Resources:

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