Electric Power Reliability for Public Water Supply and Wastewater Utilities

AWWA Policy Statement on Electric Power Reliability For Public Water Supply And Wastewater Utilities

AWWA believes that every water and wastewater utility should set uninterrupted service as a high priority operating goal and include potential service interruptions in its risk assessment and resiliency plan. Avoiding extended interruptions in water service is essential for fire safety, sustaining local economies, maintaining public trust, and protecting public health and the environment. 

To provide uninterrupted service, water and wastewater systems require an acceptable level of electric power reliability. Every utility is unique with respect to its vulnerability to electric supply disruption and must undertake a critical assessment of the issue based on specific local conditions. For some utilities, even a small electric service outage can have significant consequences. Redundancy of supply or backup generating capacity tends to mitigate the risk. 

In the case of new facilities and/or their components, utilities should determine whether their designs need to conform to the latest applicable regulations, executive orders, and legislation with regards to electrical practices, safety, and security. Conformance to these requirements prevents adverse impact to the economy, public health, and safety due to the destruction or incapacitation of vital infrastructure facilities. 

Every public water supply and wastewater utility should assess the likelihood and consequences of a power supply disruption, identify critical vulnerabilities, and consider alternative power or supply redundancy to mitigate service disruptions lasting up to 72 hours or longer if public health, environmental, or economic impacts are impacted. As part of this process, careful assessment must be performed to quantify how much water service (such as minimum daily demand) can be assured, given local circumstances. In addition, every utility should have a robust emergency response plan that includes a public communications plan tailored to its needs and circumstances, for use in case of an electric supply disruption.

Practices specified in this policy statement are consistent with all other pertinent AWWA policy statements.

Adopted by the Board of Directors June 8, 1975, revised Jan. 31, 1982, and Jan. 28, 1990, and June 11, 2000, and June 13, 2004, and Jan. 17, 2010, Jan 19, 2014, and October 28, 2019.