Our Emergency Preparedness Work | Regional Water Providers Consortium

Our Emergency Preparedness Work

2019 emergency equipment drill

We don't just plan for "The Big One", we plan for "Every One"

Our members work together to plan for events that could impact local water supplies because our job is to make sure water is there for you when you need it - even during an emergency.


How water providers are working together to make water systems more resilient

Consortium members have worked together for more than 25 years to increase the resiliency of the region’s water supplies. Figuring out how to recover from a large-scale Cascadia subduction zone earthquake shapes the scope of the Consortium’s preparedness work. For this, the Consortium uses the Oregon Resilience Plan as its road map.

Water providers also support one another when faced with other, more common types of emergencies such as severe storms, wildfires, water quality issues, drought, and power outages. For example, providers came to one another’s aid most recently in the winter storms in early 2021 and during the September 2020 wildfires.

Here’s a snapshot of what water providers are working on collaboratively: 

  • Creating a regional emergency drinking water framework plan (Executive Summary PDF)
  • Using disaster scenarios to test emergency plans, communication, and equipment
  • Providing networking and training opportunities for water provider staff
  • Conducting public outreach campaigns that teach people how to safely store, treat, and access water in an emergency
  • Developing a diverse suite of multilingual messaging tools including print materials, web and social media content, and how-to videos

Find out more about the Consortium's Emergency Preparedness Program.


Providing Emergency Drinking Water

The Consortium and the Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization (RDPO) recently completed the Provision of Emergency Drinking Water Framework. The Framework development included the participation of over 40 water providers from the five-county UASI (Urban Area Security Initiative) Region in addition to Oregon and Washington state agencies and FEMA Region 10. The goal of the project is to advance regionally coordinated planning for the equitable delivery of emergency drinking water to households. Learn more about the project on the RDPO project webpage and read the Executive Summary or Full Framework Plan.


What individual water providers are doing to make their water systems more resilient

Water providers’ preparedness work includes the daily tasks of regular system maintenance. It also includes longer-term projects such as conducting seismic risk assessments and investing in upgrades that make their systems more resilient. 

Figuring out how to respond to a large-scale earthquake also helps water providers prepare for and respond to other types of emergencies. The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA) and other tools help water providers to evaluate the resilience of their systems. Water providers use this information to create emergency response plans and complete other work to address these needs.

Here are some examples of water providers' projects:


Do your part to help make the region more resilient by getting prepared for emergencies

After a big emergency, water providers and first responders will need to focus on getting the region’s infrastructure back up and running. This work will involve clearing emergency transportation routes, fixing broken or badly damaged water and wastewater systems, and assessing damage to buildings and bridges across the region.

Each of us will have to depend on one another to stay healthy and safe for days or potentially weeks until outside help arrives to our region. You can make sure you and your community are ready by starting with water, learning about what else to put in your kit, signing up for emergency alerts at Public Alerts, and working with others to create a plan