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Hundreds of water utility executives and security experts from throughout America are in Los Angeles this week to discuss the challenges and the best ways to protect Americas water supplies at the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Water Security Congress. The conference began yesterday and will continue through Wednesday, March 26. United States EPA Administrator Christie Whitman is scheduled to speak at the conference luncheon tomorrow.
AWWA has encouraged all interested water industry professionals including utility managers, security staff, consultants, public officials, and media to attend.
"Those responsible for securing Americas water supply have been aggressively identifying new ways to protect drinking water from terrorism," Jack Hoffbuhr, Executive Director of AWWA stated. "The AWWA Water Security Congress allows for water utility officials to learn about new and innovative methods and products to provide the highest level of security to their local water supply and it allows water industry officials the ability to share common goals and challenges in meeting federal mandates for security assessment and emergency response planning."
The AWWA Water Security Congress will provide opportunities for water utility professionals to learn, network, and share ideas relating to water security. The event will also feature seminars from some of the leading water security experts in the nation and a vendor exhibit hall displaying the latest innovations in utility security.
Topics being discussed include implementing results of federally mandated vulnerability assessments; water quality monitoring; security and the public official; legislative and research updates; distribution and collection system security; securing the source; crisis decision making; security hardware and technology; emergency response planning; cyber security; crisis communications; and threat identification and response.
Water utilities throughout the nation have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure costs including water monitoring, physical security systems and emergency training and planning to protect Americas water supplies from terrorism. The AWWA estimates that more than $450 million in federal assistance is required for federally mandates assessments required of small-medium-sized water systems serving populations of between 50,000 and 100,000 people.
Established in 1881, AWWA is the oldest and largest nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to safe drinking water in North America. AWWA has over 57,000 members worldwide and its 4,700 utility members serve 80 percent of America's population. Further information may be found at www.awwa.org.