Safeguarding the Nation's Drinking Water: EPA and Congressional Actions [Updated March 7, 2003]   [open pdf - 67KB]

"The events of September 11 raised concerns about the security of the nation's drinking water supplies and their vulnerability to attack. Issues include the readiness of water utilities to prevent and respond to attacks on water systems, steps that can be taken to improve preparedness and response capabilities, and the availability of resources to help utilities enhance drinking water security. After a presidential commission on critical infrastructure protection identified vulnerabilities in the water sector in 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with other federal agencies, water utilities, and state and local governments, began taking steps to improve the security of water systems, although these efforts generally were not targeted to current concerns over terrorism...Since September 11, 2001, EPA has increased efforts to help utilities safeguard facilities and supplies from terrorist or other threats in numerous ways...The 107th Congress took significant steps to improve drinking water security...In February 2003, the White House issued the National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets, which designates EPA as the lead agency for protecting critical water infrastructure. The 108th Congress may be interested in overseeing implementation of the water security provisions of the Bioterrorism Act and other efforts to improve drinking water security. Regarding funding, the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution for FY2003, P.L. 108-7 (H.J.Res. 2) provides more than $22 million for EPA for water security activities." - Excerpts from Summary

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31294
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