In October 2018, America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) was signed into law. The most immediate benefits of this legislation were the amounts of funding that various water utilities will be able to access. This Act has also introduced a systematic plan for risk and resilience management of water infrastructure.
Community-based water systems must complete risk and resilience assessment plans and report back to comply with the law and may have access to some grants to achieve this. They must also create emergency response strategies that address both physical and cyber-related risks.
The National Law Review reports:
“The AWIA requires each community water system serving more than 3,300 people to conduct an assessment of the risks to, and resilience of, its system. This assessment must include an assessment of:
- The risk of the system from malevolent acts and natural hazards
- The resilience of the pipes and constructed conveyances, physical barriers, source water, water collection and intake, pretreatment, treatment, storage and distribution facilities, electronic, computer, or other automated systems (including the security of such systems) which are utilized by the system
- The monitoring practices of the system
- The financial infrastructure of the system
- The use, storage, or handling of various chemicals by the system
- The operation and maintenance of the system.”
Cybersecurity issues have been becoming more prevalent in the water and wastewater industries and will need more and more attention as time goes on. These regulations laid out by the AWIA are a positive step forward for U.S. water systems.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works released the highlights of America’s Water Infrastructure Act 2020.
It says that the AWIA 2020provides roughly $17 billion for infrastructure projects across the country to do the following: cut the red tape to complete its feasibility studies for potential projects, reduce pollutions and emissions, and improve the overall water infrastructure and drinking water that will benefit the rural areas and disadvantaged communities across the states.
The AWIA is one of a range of government initiatives underway to increase infrastructure expenditure in the US and address infrastructure backlogs.
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