Water Sector Coordinating Council Meets with EPA, DHS

(April 3, 2020) – The Water Sector Coordinating Council (WSCC) met on March 25 to discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on the water sector and met the following day with the Water Government Coordinating Council (GCC). The WSCC and GCC had originally planned to meet in person on these dates but moved to a web meeting format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WSCC is a policy, strategy and coordination mechanism for the US Water and Wastewater Systems Sector in interactions with the government and other sectors on critical infrastructure security and resilience issues. The WSCC coordinates and collaborates with the EPA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), state primacy administrators and other government agencies primarily through the GCC. 

During both meetings, COVID-19 was the primary topic of discussion, with a focus on how water utilities can best ensure continuity of service. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Office of Water Assistant Administrator Dave Ross joined the joint WSCC/GCC meeting to answer questions about the Agency’s response to the pandemic and to hear suggestions on what is still needed to keep water utilities operational during this time.

Chris Krebs, Director of the DHS Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), also joined the meeting. CISA used WSCC input from the meeting to update its memo identifying essential critical infrastructure workers during emergencies. The list is meant to help state and local officials to ensure public health and safety through continuity of essential functions. 

NACWA’s representatives on the WSCC are Talyon Sortor, Assistant General Manager of the Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District, and Karen Pallansch, Chief Executive Officer of Alexandria Renew Enterprises.

Please contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, with any questions.