Cybersecurity seems to regularly appear in the news these days.
The technology that controls some important aspects of the water treatment process could potentially be hacked or otherwise compromised via a cyber security breach. In recent testimony at a congressional hearing, Kevin Morley of AWWA, said, “The amount of risk water providers face has increased dramatically in recent years as they connect their legacy machines to the internet and IT systems.”
Per America’s Infrastructure Act of 2018, water utilities serving 3,300 or more people must take stock of their cybersecurity vulnerabilities and have plans in place to reduce the impact of those attacks.
In 2021, an incident in Florida saw a hacker gain access to the water treatment system, but an operator reacted quickly to prevent any potential harm. A different cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline resulted in it being voluntarily taken offline until the threat was handled. Ultimately, that attack was determined to be a ransomware attack.
Having the right equipment and staff to develop and maintain strong cybersecurity systems is an essential need for water systems. Just as water systems pay to protect their water supply from physical attacks, they’re also paying for cybersecurity. These costs may be included in your water bill.
Seems like a nominal cost to maintain healthy drinking water.