Skip Navigation
Explore our COVID-19 Resources and Updates
CHS blue logo square
Home > Our Work > All Publications > 2006


Our publications keep professionals informed on the most important developments and issues in health security and biosecurity.

Find an article or report by keywords:

Find an article or report or see all by area, author, or year:


The Biological Threat to U.S. Water Supplies: Toward a National Water Security Policy

Jennifer B. Nuzzo
Date posted:
June 15, 2006
Publication type:

Biosecur Bioterror 2006;4(2):147-159

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Available on publisher's website
See also:

Full article as PDF


In addition to providing potable drinking water, U.S. water systems are critical to the maintenance of many vital public services, such as fire suppression and power generation. Disruption of these systems would produce severe public health and safety risks, as well as considerable economic losses. Thus, water systems have been designated as critical to national security by the U.S. government. Previous outbreaks of waterborne disease have demonstrated the vulnerability of both the water supply and the public’s health to biological contamination of drinking water. Such experiences suggest that a biological attack, or even a credible threat of an attack, on water infrastructure could seriously jeopardize the public’s health, its confidence, and the economic vitality of a community. Despite these recognized vulnerabilities, protecting water supplies from a deliberate biological attack has not been sufficiently addressed. Action in this area has suffered from a lack of scientific understanding of the true vulnerability of water supplies to intentional contamination with bioweapons, insufficient tools for detecting biological agents, and a lack of funds to implement security improvements. Much of what is needed to address the vulnerability of the national water supply falls outside the influence of individual utilities. This includes developing a national research agenda to appropriately identify and characterize waterborne threats and making funds available to implement security improvements.

Full article as PDF



Our Mission

To protect people’s health from epidemics and disasters and ensure that communities are resilient to major challenges.