Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

An evaluation of security measures implemented to address physical threats to water infrastructure in the state of Mississippi

Jason R. Barrett, PhD Candidate, P. Edward French, PhD


The events of September 11, 2001, increased and intensified domestic preparedness efforts in the United States against terrorism and other threats. The heightened focus on protecting this nation’s critical infrastructure included legislation requiring implementation of extensive new security measures to better defend water supply systems against physical, chemical/ biological, and cyber attacks. In response, municipal officials have implemented numerous safeguards to reduce the vulnerability of these systems to purposeful intrusions including ongoing vulnerability assessments, extensive personnel training, and highly detailed emergency response and communication plans. This study evaluates fiscal year 2010 annual compliance assessments of public water systems with security measures that were implemented by Mississippi’s Department of Health as a response to federal requirements to address these potential terrorist threats to water distribution systems. The results show that 20 percent of the water systems in this state had at least one security violation on their 2010 Capacity Development Assessment, and continued perseverance from local governments is needed to enhance the resiliency and robustness of these systems against physical threats.


emergency management, security measures, water systems

Full Text:



Jeong HS, Abraham DM: Operational response model for physically attacked water networks using NSGS-II. J Comput Civil Eng. 2006; 20(5): 328-338.

Goodman D, French PE, Mann S: Managing local government human resources around catastrophic events. In Condrey SE (ed.): Handbook of Human Resource Management in Government. 3rd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010.

Petak WJ: Emergency management: A challenge to public administration. Public Adm Rev. 1985; 45(special issue): 3-7.

Waugh WL Jr: Regionalizing emergency management: Counties as state and local government. Public Adm Rev. 1994; 54(3): 253-258.

Waugh WL Jr, Streib G: Collaboration and leadership for effective emergency management. Public Adm Rev. 2006; 66(special issue): 131-140.

Caruson K, MacManus SA: Gauging disaster vulnerabilities at the local level: Divergence and convergence in an “all-hazards” system. Adm Soc. 2011; 43: 346-371.

Grubesic TH, Murry AT: Vital nodes, interconnected infrastructures, and the geographies of network survivability. Ann Assoc Am Geogr. 2006; 96(1): 64-83.

Skolicki Z, Wadda M, Houck M, et al.: Reduction of physical threats to water distribution systems. J Water Resour Plan Manage. 2006; 132(4): 211-217.

EH Update: Drinking water security. J Environ Health. 2003; 66(2): 41-42.

Clark RM, Deininger RA: Protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure: The vulnerability of U.S. water supply systems. J Contingencies Crisis Manage. 2000; 8(2): 73-80.

Ginsberg MD, Hock VF: Terrorism and security of water distribution systems: A primer. Def Secur Anal. 2004; 20(4): 373-380.

Qiao J, Jeong D, Lawly M, et al.: Allocating security resources to a water supply network. HE Trans. 2007; 39: 95-109.

Mays LW: Water Supply Systems Security. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004: 1.6 (Section 1.4).

Burns NB, Cooper CA, Dobbins DA, et al.: Security analysis and response for water utilities. In Mays L (ed.): Urban Water Supply Handbook, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2002: 20.1-20.23.

Jeong HS, Abraham DM: Water rationing model for consequence minimization of water infrastructure destruction. J Water Resour Plan Manage. 2009; 135(2): 80-89.

Mississippi State Department of Health: Triennial report to the governor concerning Mississippi's Capacity Development Program for public water systems. Available at Accessed April 2011.

Mississippi State Department of Health, Division of Water Supply: Security Vulnerability Self-Assessment Guide for Mississippi’s Public Water Systems. 2011.Available at http://msdh. Accessed April 2011.

Falkenrath RA: Problems of preparedness: U.S. readiness for a domestic terrorist attack. Int Secur. 2001; 25(4): 147-158.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Journal of Emergency Management