Mutual aid

first responders illustration
Credit: Illustration by Cecily Mireles

The state encourages public water systems to join a local or regional mutual aid organization, which can help find equipment and personnel after a disaster. For example, after a 2014 earthquake damaged water infrastructure in Napa, the California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (CalWARN) activated, allowing nearby utilities to assist with repairs. 

Water utilities may share information and infrastructure, and even supplies where needed. For example, Sacramento-area water agencies are collaborating on an underground “water bank” to be filled with excess water during wet years and used during dry years. 

A number of emergency tools become available at the local, state and national level: