AWWA Guidance Helps Utilities Help Utilities To Respond To Disasters

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) announced on March 29 the publication of a comprehensive guidance tool that helps water and wastewater utilities establish mutual aid and assistance networks to respond to natural disasters or other water emergencies.

The report, titled "Utilities Helping Utilities: An Action Plan for Mutual Aid and Assistance Networks for Water and Wastewater Utilities," guides water suppliers in the creation of networks to facilitate rapid, short-term deployment of emergency support following a disaster.

"In the past year, we have all witnessed the importance of restoring water service following natural disasters," said AWWA executive director Jack W. Hoffbuhr. "One of the surest ways to get a water system back on line after a hurricane, earthquake or other disaster is to have the help of neighboring water professionals. Establishing mutual aid agreements keeps utilities ahead of the storm."

The guidance is an outgrowth of a "Utilities Helping Utilities" joint policy statement signed in February 2006. The statement said that the water sector is committed to encouraging utilities and local and state governments to establish intrastate mutual aid networks. Signatories included AWWA, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the Association of State Drinking Water Agencies, the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators, the National Rural Water Association and the Water Environment Federation.

For additional information on the guidance, go to http://www.awwa.org/Advocacy/Govtaff.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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