Emergency Management


Emergency Water

The Corps of Engineers, within specific guidelines, is authorized to provide emergency water assistance to any community confronted with water supply problems associated with drought conditions or a contaminated source if there is a substantial threat to the public health and welfare of the inhabitants in the area.


The intent of the emergency water program is to provide temporary emergency water assistance to meet minimum public health, safety, and welfare requirements. Evaluations of requests for assistance are to be tempered by the fact that Corps assistance is temporary and supplemental to state and local efforts. Long-term solutions to water supply problems remain the responsibility of state and local interests.

Type of Assistance Provided by the Corps

  • Transportation of water by vehicles, small diameter pipelines, or other means for human and livestock consumption.
  • Construction of wells.

Criteria for Corps of Engineers Assistance

  • Written request from the governor or his authorized representative.
  • The area is drought distressed and found to have an inadequate water supply which is causing, or is likely to cause, substantial threat to the health and welfare of the inhabitants of the area, including threat of damage or loss of property.
  • State and/or local interests should have: (1) a drought emergency declaration from the state or other appropriate authority; (2) utilized all available state and local resources to include funds, manpower, and equipment such as National Guard trucks to haul water; (3) instituted mandatory water conservation measures; (4) prioritzed use of available water. Human and livestock consumption and sanitary needs take priority over industrial processes and irrigation of crops; (5) established minimum requirements for public health and welfare; and (6) initiated a long-term solution.

The Corps of Engineers is authorized to provide clean water to communities with contaminated water supplies that represent a substantial threat to the public health and welfare. Contamination may have resulted from deliberate, accidental or natural events, including flooding.

Type of Assistance Provided by the Corps

  • Provide water tank trucks to haul water from a safe source to the point established for local distribution.
  • Procurement and distribution of bottled water.
  • Temporary connection of a new supply to the existing distribution system.
  • Installation of temporary filtration system.
  • Provide mobile military purification units.

Criteria for Corps of Engineers Assistance

  • A written request for assistance is required from the governor of the state and/or authorized representative.
  • State and local governments must fully utilize their own resources, including National Guard Capabilities.

Duration of Assistance

  • The Corps assistance normally will be temporary to meet the immediate threat. Assistance is limited to 30 days, or until the Federal Emergency Management Agency undertakes the provision of emergency water under its own authorities, whichever is earlier.
How to Obtain Help
  • Contact your local political representatives so they may inform the state governor's office. The govenor must ask the Corps to provide assistance. For Indian tribal lands, the Bureau of Indian Affairs will normally submit the request for assistance.