vvEPA
United States
Environmental Protection
Agency
TRIBAL WATER SYSTEMS
    A Vital Component of WARN
BACKGROUND
The mission of Water/Wastewater Agency Response Networks (WARN) is to provide expedited
access to the specialized resources needed to respond to and recover from natural and human
caused events that disrupt drinking water and wastewater utilities.
                                 Unlike existing statewide mutual aid agreements, WARN
                                 membership is open to both public and private utilities.
                                 By adopting the WARN approach to mutual aid and
                                 assistance, drinking water and wastewater utilities in each
                                 state are able to sign a single agreement covering issues
                                 such as indemnification, workers' compensation, and
                                 reimbursement. The agreement also allows for utilities to
                                 share equipment, personnel, and other resources to
                                 respond effectively to any crisis.
A WARN's success relies on a strong base of member utilities willing to help one another during
emergencies. For this reason, no utility is too large or too small to benefit from WARN, and each
additional member enhances the probability of a successful response to an emergency.
TRIBAL WATER SYSTEMS AS WARN MEMBERS
WARN recognizes that a tribal government is an independent sovereign nation. Tribal legal
counsel should evaluate the Model WARN Agreement or the WARN Agreement for the State in
which the tribe is located to determine if the agreement impacts its sovereign status or
established tribal laws in any way.
ROLE OF TRIBAL WATER SYSTEMS IN WARN
All member utilities have equal rights, regardless of size or type of operations. Tribal systems are
eligible to serve on the various WARN committees and subcommittees, as well as serve as the
WARN Chair, if elected to the position. Tribal systems, like all members, can request or send
resources during an emergency, but are not obligated to do so if they decide not to for any reason.
WATER SECTOR SUPPORT
Eight maj or water organizations signed the Joint Policy Statement on Mutual Aid and Assistance
Networks in February 2006, encouraging utilities and local/state governments to establish
intrastate mutual aid and assistance networks. Additional support is available through outreach
products developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to aid utilities in the
development of mutual aid and assistance networks, found at:
http://cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/home.cfm?program id=8#maa
       Office of Water (4608-T) |  EPA817-F-09-010 | November 2009 | www.epa.qov/watersecuritv

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                 MUTUAL AID AND ASSISTANCE FOR TRIBAL WATER SYSTEMS
                 page 2 of 2
 WARN RESPONSES
A number of WARNs have been involved in past response activities, both providing and
receiving assistance.
  City of Alamosa,  Colorado, Water Contamination Incident (2008) - Colorado WARN
   member response consisted of incident management and sampling expertise, as well as
   resources for flushing and disinfecting the water system.
  Hurricanes Umberto and Ike (2007-2008) - Texas WARN member response included
   systems locating generators and coordinating support to utilities who lost power.
  Southern California Fires (2007) - California WARN member response included systems
   who provided over 100 different resources, including operators, mechanics, electricians,
   water quality technicians, water buffaloes for firefighting, and bottled water for affected
   citizens.
  Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005) - Florida WARN member response included systems
   who cleaned electrical components and lift stations, fixed  electrical motors and pumps, and
   repaired water main leaks.
COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WARN
           FALSE
                         TRUE
WARN is geared toward large
systems only.
> Public, private, and sovereign tribal systems of all sizes have
  equal rights in WARN.	
WARN membership is too
expensive for tribal systems to
participate.
> Existing WARNs do not require a membership or retainer fee.
> All member utilities volunteer time to develop and maintain their
  WARN.
WARN membership obligates
tribal systems to send resources.
> Adoption of and participation in existing WARN agreements by a
  tribal system is strictly voluntary.
> No member is obligated to send resources if they decide not to
  for any reason.	
WARN membership replaces
other emergency or disaster
assistance.
> Existing WARN agreements do not offset, replace, or negate, in
  whole or in part, any emergency or disaster aid or resources for
  which a participating tribal system may be entitled or eligible
  under any Federal, state, or local law.	
WARN membership precludes
tribal systems from participating in
other mutual aid and assistance
agreements, or utilizing resources
from contractors or associations.
  The Joint Policy Statement supports mutual aid and assistance
  networks of all kinds and the WARN program is not the only
  option.
  WARN recognizes the need for member utilities to also access
  local agreements with another tribe, or another government, and
  does not attempt to replace them.	
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Contact John Whitler of EPA (whitler.j ohn@epa. gov) or visit:
http://cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/home.cfm?program id=8#maa.
         Office of Water (4608-T) | EPA817-F-09-010 | November 2009 | www.epa.qov/watersecuritv

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