&EPA
United States
Environmental Protection
Agency
                               Water Sector Partnerships

                     with the Food and Agriculture Sector

Water utilities can enhance their communities' response to and recovery from a water service interruption by
identifying and establishing partnerships with critical interdependent sectors. Critical infrastructure sectors that
                                                    rely on water to provide essential goods and services
                                                    include food and agriculture, transportation, energy and
                                                    health care. Drinking water and wastewater utilities should
                                                    first identify critical water users in their communities.
                                                    Utilities should then develop working relationships with
                                                    their critical users to create a mutual understanding of
                                                    their needs, capabilities, and  limitations and to develop
                                                    realistic expectations of who can do what in the event of
                                                    an emergency.

                                                    The Food and Agriculture Sector relies on drinking water
                                                    and wastewater in a variety of ways to ensure food  safety
                                                    and availability at the local, regional and national levels.
                                                    For example,  food processing is a water-intensive industry
that utilizes water as a component in product formulations, as a sanitizing agent, and in some cases as a means to
help move a product through the production processes.  Effective partnerships between the Water Sector and the
Food and Agriculture Sector can enhance preparedness,  response,  mitigation and recovery actions and  minimize
the adverse impacts of a water service interruption.

Establishing partnerships is one of the Key Features of an  Active and Effective Protective Program. The U.S. Environ-
mental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with the Water Sector, developed the  Key Features to strengthen the
security and resiliency of drinking water and wastewater systems in the face of natural  disasters or other emergencies.
                    THE KEY FEATURES
    1. Integrate protective concepts into organizational culture,
      leadership and daily operations
    2. Identify and support protective program priorities,
      resources and utility-specific measures
    3. Employ protocols for detection of contamination
    4. Assess risks and review vulnerability assessments (VAs)
    5. Establish facility and information access control
    6. Incorporate resiliency concepts into physical infrastructure
    7. Prepare, test, and  update emergency response and
      business  continuity plans
    8. Develop partnerships with first responders, managers  of
      critical interdependent infrastructure, other utilities and
      response organizations
    9. Develop and implement internal  and external
      communication strategies
  10. Monitor incidents and threat-level information
1 United States Census Bureau. 2012.The 2012 Statistical Abstract, The National Data Book. Available from http://www.census.gov/
 compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0840.pdf.

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Water Sector Partnerships with the Food and Agriculture Sector
page 2
Highlighting Partnerships
Water utilities should make it a priority to establish and maintain good
working relationships with critical users in the Food and Agriculture
Sector, such as food processors, livestock yards and animal feeding
operations. These relationships can be reinforced through regular dialog,
information sharing, written  mutual aid and information-sharing agree-
ments, and joint  participation in exercises, drills and roundtable meet-
ings. Through these activities, water utilities can develop a better un-
derstanding of how an interruption of water services could impact other
sectors, and the Food and Agriculture Sector can develop a better sense
of a water utility's capabilities and limitations during an emergency.

When water utilities partner with critical users, they can more quickly notify each other of incidents that could
negatively impact each other. For example, contaminated water from a public water system could disrupt livestock
feed manufacturing while an accidental discharge of agricultural wastewater could threaten a drinking water sys-
tem's surface water source.

EPA's Community Based Water Resiliency (CBWR) initiative increases overall community  preparedness by raising
awareness of Water Sector interdependencies and fostering relationships among local officials, businesses, public
health  officials and other critical stakeholders at the community level. The CBWR  e-Tool is a resource for utilities
as well as the Food and Agriculture Sector and is a good starting point for increasing water resiliency. For addi-
tional information on CBWR, and to download the CBWR e-Tool,  please visit : http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/
watersecuritv/communities.
  EPA has worked with other federal agencies for many years to strengthen partnerships between the Water Sector
  and the Food and Agriculture Sector.  Examples include:
   Multi-Sector Infrastructure Protection and Threat Workshops: Co-hosted by EPA, Federal Bureau of Investi-
    gation, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Participants
    include drinking water and wastewater utilities, federal, state and local law enforcement; food and agriculture
    representatives, and public health/healthcare officials.
   The Food Processor and Water Security and Resiliency Conference: Held in 2010, in Chicago, Illinois, as
    a collaborative effort between EPA Region 5 and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Protective
    Security Advisor program for the Great Lakes Region. The conference focused on the food processing industry
    because food processing is a water-intensive industry and a water service interruption could  be  extremely
    disruptive to this sector.
   Water Emergency Response Tool for Food  Processors: Tool developed by Penn State Cooperative Extension can
    help food processors and manufacturers be better prepared for water shortage or water contamination emergen-
    cies. The tool can be found at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Food_Defense_&_Emergency_Response
   Federal Food and Agriculture Decontamination and Disposal Roles and Responsibilities: Published in 2005,
    the document was prepared collaboratively by EPA, USDA, Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Health
    and Human Services (HHS) and  DHS. The report can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/homelandsecurityportal/
    pdf/Final Food  and Ag  CONOPS.pdf
    FOR MORE INFORMATION: EPA is committed to ensuring strong working relationships between the Water
    Sector and other sectors. For more information on EPA's support for developing partnerships and the Key
    Features of an Active and Effective Protective Program, visit http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecuritv/
    features/index.cfm or email WSD-Outreach(5)epa.gov.
               Office of Water (4608-T)    EPA 817-K-12-005   www.epa.gov/watersecurity   July 2012

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