Legislation that supports American Water Works Association's recommendation for a collaborative approach to cybersecurity in the water sector was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today. Spearheaded by Reps. Rick Crawford (R-AR) and John Duarte (R-CA), H.R. 7922 authorizes an independent, non-federal entity to lead the development of cybersecurity requirements in the sector.

“Foreign adversaries such as Russia and China have utilized cyber-attacks to target critical infrastructure such as water systems. This bill is a more proactive approach to safeguarding our drinking and wastewater from these types of attacks. These protections are vital at a time where cyber threats are constant and technology is evolving quickly,” Rep. Crawford said.

“With the constant threat of cyberattacks by our adversaries, the United States’ water infrastructure must be secured and defended properly,” Rep. Duarte said. “I am proud to help lead this crucial legislation with Rep. Crawford to ensure that our wastewater and drinking water systems are adequately prepared to deal with potential cybersecurity threats.”

“Strong and effective cybersecurity oversight is critical for the water sector,” said American Water Works Association CEO David LaFrance. “Reps. Crawford and Duarte’s vision for a collaborative model that leverages the knowledge of the sector is the right approach for protecting water utilities from cyber-attacks.”

This WRRO leverages the technical knowledge of utilities, cybersecurity experts and regulators to implement a comprehensive cybersecurity risk management strategy. Federal oversight and approval of requirements would be provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which already regulates drinking water and wastewater utility operations.

The proposed collaborative approach builds on a similar model that has already been successfully applied in the electric sector. The recommendation also aligns with calls for greater public-private collaboration included in the National Cyber Strategy.

AWWA has prepared a summary of the major bill provisions.