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Security is assuring that water sources and water distribution systems are protected from attack and have reliable systems in place to respond should an attack occur.
Sandia had begun work on water infrastructure security about a year prior to September 11th. Working with water industry groups and with the EPA, Sandia had begun to develop a risk assessment methodology for assessing the vulnerability of water systems in major U.S. cities. Needless to say, September 11th dramatically changed this landscape. The EPA, under heavy pressure from water utilities around the country, asked if Sandia could perform vulnerability assessments for 300 U.S. cities by December 31st, 2002. This was a monumental task, and no organization in the U.S., including Sandia, was prepared to effectively accomplish that task.

Sandia proposed that a more effective, broad-reaching first step would be to conduct safety and security training to water utilities across the country via satellite. The EPA readily endorsed this proposal and the following day, Christine Todd Whitman, Administrator of EPA, announced this training.

Following intense preparations over the next several weeks and working closely with the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AwwaRF), Sandia delivered the first satellite training session. This training ultimately reached over 5000 water utility personnel across the country, via the AWWA training networks.

Sandia teams also conducted additional risk assessments for several major U.S. cities, refining the methodology further with each assessment. A more comprehensive hands-on training course was developed for major water utilities and by March 2002, representatives from 120 water utilities from across the country had received this training. Another phase of this training is currently under way--the comprehensive "Train-the-Trainer" course, designed to spread the Sandia risk assessment methodology and knowledge to many more water utilities across the country. Sandia has also developed an automated cyber assessment tool for the analysis of risks associated with computer-based SCADA systems used to automate systems control. We have provided congressional testimony on water security to House committees on two occasions.

Conducting risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities is only the tip of the iceberg. In the intermediate and long term, real-time monitoring will play a major role. Sandia has the expertise to have a major impact in this area, as well as further refinement of our understanding of threat to water systems, systems-level tools for real-time management of water distribution systems, and technologies for treating contaminated water.

Most water systems will not have the resources to create and maintain separate security-driven monitoring, treatment, and management systems. The United States cannot afford monitoring or treatment technologies that are solely focused on low-probability, high-consequence threats to our water systems. Some form of "dual use" combining standard water quality management with security-driven requirements will emerge. In the long term, robust security for our water systems will come through fundamental design changes that will make these systems less attractive as targets. Sandia has already begun working with standards settings organizations such as ASCE to issue interim guidance on how to incorporate security during the design phase of future water infrastructure elements. Security built in as an intrinsic element of design will be both robust and much less costly.

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