NIAC Releases Draft Report on Water Infrastructure

The President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) is composed of senior executives from industry and state and local government who own and operate critical infrastructure. The Council was established by executive order in October 2001 to advise the President on practical strategies for industry and government to reduce complex risks to the designated critical infrastructure sectors. The NIAC periodically evaluates the water sector, as water and wastewater systems are one of the Department of Homland Security’s (DHS’s) 16 critical infrastructure sectors.

NIAC recently released a draft report on water infrastructure – “Preparing the United States Critcal Infrastructure for Today’s Evolving Water Crises“. The draft report has 11 recommendations that are summarized below:

Aid Infrastructure Owners and Operators
1. Create, incentivize, and enforce standards for water use and quality.
2. Remove barriers to new ways of funding water projects.
3. Invest in innovation.
4. Assist low-income and vulnerable populations.
5. Increase national resiliency to drought, floods, and other water-related crises.
6. Invest in the water infrastructure workforce.

Mitigate Cross-Sector Impacts
1. Invest in reliable infrastructure in U.S. river systems to provide for energy generation needs.
2. Modernize and make flood resilient the inland waterways transportation system.
3. Support adaptive practices and promote smarter irrigation technology so farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners can better deal with climate variability.

Create a National Water Strategy
1. Elevate the importance of water in the national consciousness through a public awareness program.
2. Institute either a Department of Water or some other entity that stewards water at the Cabinet level.