Risk and Resilience Assessment & Emergency Planning

On Oct. 23, 2018, America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) was signed into law. AWIA Section 2013 requires that community water systems serving more than 3,300 people develop or update:

  1. A risk and resilience assessment that will assess the risk and the resilience of the water system to malevolent acts and natural hazards. Risk to critical infrastructure, including water systems, is a function of threat likelihood, vulnerability and consequence. Resilience is the capability of a water system to maintain operations or recover when a malevolent act or a natural hazard occurs.
  2. An emergency response plan that incorporates the findings of the water system’s risk and resilience assessment and describes strategies, resources, plans and procedures utilities can use to prepare for and respond to an incident, natural or man-made, that threatens life, property or the environment. 

The law specifies the components that the risk assessments and emergency response plans must address, and establishes deadlines by which water systems must certify completion to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Risk Assessments and Response Plan Due Dates

Water systems must certify to the EPA that the system conducted the assessment no later than the following dates:

  • March 31, 2020, for systems serving 100,000 or more
  • Dec. 31, 2020, for systems serving 50,000 or more but less than 100,000
  • June 30, 2021, for systems serving more than 3,300 but less than 50,000

Water systems must certify to the EPA that the system developed or updated its Emergency Response Plan no later than six months after risk and resilience assessment certification.


Every five years, utilities must review the risk and resilience assessment and submit a recertification to the EPA that the assessment has been reviewed and, if necessary, revised.

Within six months of submitting the recertification for the risk and resilience assessment, utilities must certify that they have reviewed and, if necessary, revised, the emergency response plan.