NAWC Praises EPA, National Security Council Focus on Water Cybersecurity with States

March 22, 2024

PHILADELPHIA – The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) supported the convening of states to discuss protecting the nation’s critical water infrastructure from cyberattacks by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Security Council.

NAWC President and CEO Robert F. Powelson issued the following statement:

“NAWC and its member companies welcome the conversation about cybersecurity between the Biden Administration and state environmental regulators and homeland security departments. The vast majority of NAWC members have a cybersecurity plan in place. Our hope is that this discussion will drive uniform cybersecurity planning and compliance across the water sector.

“Critical infrastructure is in the crosshairs of international threat actors who want to impede and disrupt our utility infrastructure. There is clearly a growing level of cyber sophistication aimed directly at the nation’s water and wastewater facilities and it’s rapidly becoming a matter of national security.

“The water industry is a target-rich environment that can be ripe for attack. Many system operators outside of NAWC members have been lax in their investments in physical and cybersecurity-related areas. We need to see greater compliance across the entire sector.”

Establishing a water risk and resilience organization has been a longstanding priority for NAWC. The Association also applauded the effort calling for greater transparency and training across the entire utility grid.

“As NAWC’s representative on the Water Sector Coordinating Council, I’m hopeful that the new EPA Task Force will include representation from the regulated, private water sector,” said Don Schumacher, superintendent of operations for Connecticut Water Company. “In my view, this is critically important to information sharing and greater cross-sector coordination.”

In 2021, NAWC developed cybersecurity pillars to serve as guiding principles around cybersecurity compliance and the sector’s path forward on this key issue. NAWC and its member companies have the technical and financial capacity to tackle these challenges using the cybersecurity pillars as our guide.


Previous opinion pieces by Powelson:

The Hill: Without federal action, hackers will continue to endanger US water systems

The Hill: Cybersecurity needs to be top priority in nation’s water utilities

University of Missouri’s Financial Research Institute: Powelson Calls for Greater Focus on Water System Cybersecurity

# # #