NRWA and the Mission Critical Global Alliance (MCGA) signed a memorandum of understanding on March 9, 2021, affirming a commitment to cybersecurity education for the water sector. 

NRWA takes cybersecurity very seriously, and is committed to raising the bar for awareness, education and support for water professionals.”

Matt Holmes, NRWA CEO

There are more than 145,000 active public water systems in the United States (including territories). Of these, 97% are considered small systems under the Safe Drinking Water Act, meaning they serve 10,000 or fewer people. Systems of the size of City of Oldsmar (15,000 population) have limited resources to manage the threat to their operations.

In the field of cybersecurity, guidance is often too complex or difficult to act. Experts provide lists of 20 or more points that need to be investigated, and many of these require specialist skills. Specialist service providers are often driven by their own business interests, focusing their services on technology at the expense of people and process. NRWA and MCGA will focus on simple guidance and practical steps that will help all members better manage their cybersecurity risk.

MCGA and NRWA are developing a plan for a comprehensive continuous cyber education program that will help all small and rural water and wastewater systems better manage their cybersecurity risk, by:

  • Creating a multi-stage training program that targets guidance based on risk along with the technical ability and capacity of systems.
  • Focusing on training Circuit Riders, the key NRWA field experts who are best placed to sustain the ongoing effort needed to manage the cybersecurity risk.
  • Integrating with other initiatives around water sector cybersecurity to ensure that time, effort, and funds are used to best effect.