ABIPARTISAN GROUP OF 11 US senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee has proposed US$5B in funding to boost security at US dams and water infrastructure, following the 11 September terrorist attacks.

A major concern is that terrorists could contaminate drinking water supplies or cause the failure of major dams.

Congress is also considering having the Department of Interior contract with local law enforcement officials to tighten security around its 58 dams and 348 reservoirs, which together represent the nation’s largest wholesale supplier of water. A House panel has approved legislation that allows the Bureau of Reclamation to step up security at federal dams and water projects across western states in the US.

The water management agency already has its own police force stationed at Hoover dam but does not have the authority or staff to police the rest of its sites.