Water Supply Emergency Response Plans - Communications and Predefined Response Actions

Updated emergency contact information and pre-defined response actions are critical to initiating rapid, effective responses to drinking water system emergencies. Here are some communication and response components that should be included in your emergency response plan (ERP).


Every ERP should have up to date emergency communication information, including:

  • Emergency notification lists, with 24-hour contact information for key water system personnel, first responders, law enforcement, emergency management officials, public health officials and local government officials.
  • Resource lists to identify where technical support, repair, parts, and replacement equipment are available for all critical system components.
  • Procedures for notifying consumers during all phases of a water emergency, including contact information for local public media and critical sensitive water users (e.g. hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis centers, etc.)

Anticipated Emergencies

Every ERP should include pre-defined response actions for reasonably anticipated emergencies, including:

  • Power Outage
  • Prolonged Water Outage
  • Transmission and/or Distribution System Failure
  • Treatment Equipment Failure
  • Pump Failure
  • Loss of SCADA or Other Automated Controls
  • Contamination of Supply
  • Chemical Incident at Facility
  • Drought
  • Flood
  • Severe Weather
  • Earthquake
  • Fire at Water Supply System Facility
  • Fire in the Community
  • Hazardous Material Release
  • Terrorism or Vandalism
  • Cyber attack
  • Pandemic
  • Supply Chain Shortages