Title: Guidance for production of a Water Security Plan in drinking water supply
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2019
JRC N°: JRC116548
ISBN: 978-92-76-10967-9 (online),978-92-76-14148-8 (ePub)
ISSN: 1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 29846 EN
OP KJ-NA-29846-EN-N (online),KJ-NA-29846-EN-E (ePub)
URI: https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC116548
DOI: 10.2760/415051
Type: eBook
Abstract: Although the European Directive 2008/114/EC on protection of critical infrastructures has not designated the water supply sector as a critical infrastructure, all governments recognise their water supply as vital to their national security. Water systems are vulnerable to unintentional and intentional threats, which can include physical acts of sabotage, cyber-attack on information or SCADA systems, and contamination. In the face of an anomalous situation of contamination of drinking water, it is essential to minimise the impact of potential health risks during and after the emergency. This document provides guidance to water utility operators on assessing the risks they face, and on the factors to consider for improving their detection capabilities. Guidance is also provided on the preparation of response and recovery plans in the case of a contamination event. Water security planning will help to identify security vulnerabilities and establish security measures in water supply systems to detect intentional contamination, including a communication strategy to facilitate a fast and effective response. Where a water safety plan already exists, the water security planning should be integrated with the safety plan approach. The first step in water security planning is for the water utility operator to assess its risks to threats of deliberate contamination of the drinking water, with the risk assessment providing the basis for the design and implementation of the Water Security Plan. Through this risk assessment process, a target protection level could be set, with utility operators identifying the benefits of installing sensors in the network together with an event detection software and/or procedure. Criteria such as time to detect contamination, and the volume of contaminated water supplied will help to identify sensor deployment options. The recommended structure for the creation and maintenance of a Water Security comprises four phases: Phase 1 – Planning and preparation Phase 2 – Protection: Event detection and confirmation Phase 3 – Response: Planning and management of the event Phase 4 – Remediation and recovery Planning and preparation will include creation and maintenance of the Water Security Plan, allocation of roles and responsibilities, undertaking risk assessments to identify the mitigation and security measures, and performing the relevant training and exercising. When an emergency occurs, it is vital not to waste time deciding how to act, and debating what to communicate to consumers. Advance planning for an emergency will help to mitigate the impacts by faster communication and implementation of mitigation measures. Event detection involves the monitoring of indicators, and immediate response in case of a potential contamination, leading up to confirmation of the nature of the event. For the identification of possible emergency situations, water utility operators rely on information from monitoring and control systems, which can quickly identify an anomalous situation, and from information from various external sources. Online contamination warning systems is one focus of water security planning, along with customer complaint monitoring, public health surveillance, and enhanced security. Online contamination monitoring offers the best opportunity to minimize the consequences of intentional contamination, although to ensure timely detection of contamination, it must be integrated with routine operational monitoring. The immediate response in the event of a confirmed contamination is critical, involving communication with the public and with local/national emergency authorities to ensure a safe drinking water supply. This phase is followed by the remedial activities that lead to a full return to normal service of uncontaminated drinking water. The remediation and rehabilitation plan forms the final section of the Water Security Plan, and will need to be developed after the contamination incident is confirmed, and the full extent is determined. Regular revision of the water security plan forms an essential part of its lifecycle. All drinking water systems have some degree of vulnerability to contamination, with experience indicating that the threat of deliberate contamination is real. While steps can be taken to prevent intentional contamination, it is impossible to completely eliminate this risk, and therefore water utility operators need to consider developing and implementing a Water Security Plan.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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