In Times of Disaster, Utilities Should Help Each Other

The American Water Works Association (AWWA), along with other water agencies, Feb. 16 announced a joint policy statement on Mutual Aid and Assistance Networks. This "Utilities Helping Utilities" concept encourages utilities and local/state governments to establish intrastate mutual aid and assistance networks.

"Hurricane Katrina was a real wake up call to the whole country," said AWWA Executive Director Jack Hoffbuhr. "The water community has a long history of working towards emergency preparedness, and these mutual aid networks are the next step. They will provide rapid, short-term deployment of emergency assistance to any water or wastewater utility affected by either natural or manmade events."

According to the joint statement, "A pre-established agreement among a network of utilities can complement and enhance local capabilities to prepare for and respond to a broad range of threats, both natural and man-made. The establishment of such intrastate mutual aid and assistance networks is a core principle of the National Preparedness Goal developed by the Department of Homeland Security."

A copy of the full statement can be found at www.awwa.org/Advocacy/govtaff/Documents/Security.cfm.

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