(September 26, 2017) – The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) and NACWA met with Lee Forsgren, Deputy Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water, on September 22 to discuss fiscal year 2018 (FY18) funding for the Office of Water’s Water Security Division (WSD). The Administration’s proposed FY18 budget proposed to eliminate funding for WSD except for minimal resources to allow EPA to fulfill its responsibility as the Sector Specific Agency—which oversees the security of the nation’s drinking water and wastewater utilities.
WSD provides a wide variety of tools, training, and information to improve the resiliency of the water sector. Each year, WSD trains over 5,000 utilities, state officials, and federal emergency responders to improve the sector’s preparedness and response to natural and manmade hazards. WSD coordinates closely with water sector associations, the Water Sector Coordinating Council (WSSC) and federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The improvement in the resiliency and response of water utilities has been demonstrated through Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, with the Texas, Florida, and Georgia Water/Wastewater Agency Response Networks (WARNs) operating effectively, and the interstate Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) successfully put in place.
NACWA and AMWA will be sending a joint letter to the Senate’s Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies to request funding of WSD for FY18 at the FY17 level of $10.2 million.
NACWA member agencies that have benefited from WSD tools and training are encouraged to contact Cynthia Finley.