In addition, the water supply, treatment, and waste removal system is public infrastructure, owned and operated at the local or regional level or by private interests. Much of the support for rehabilitating and securing this infrastructure will have to come from local resources, complemented by federal funding through agencies such as the EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and others. The growing privatization of water supply and treatment introduces new uncertainties over improving security. Further research remains to be done on the effect of increasing water supply security requirements on the willingness of the private sector to assume the attendant risks under today’s laws and insurance markets. Should the private sector abandon this market, at a minimum, municipalities would have to find the funds to take over the utilities and the expertise to operate them.
In the modern city, virtually all basic needs—food, water, shelter, employment—are dependent on the continuing supply of electricity. Interruptions for a few hours or even a day may be tolerable, but weeks or more without electricity could be devastating. Because cities become dangerous and unlivable places without electricity, urban electrical-supply systems must be made tougher and more reliable. This subject is treated in Chapter 6, “Energy Systems.”
IT systems and communications have also become indispensable to city life, and their disruption could prove costly. They are addressed in Chapter 5, “Information Technology.”
From foot traffic to automobiles to cargo ships to airplanes, cities include virtually every known form of transportation—along with their vulnerabilities. This subject is discussed in Chapter 7, “Transportation Systems.”
Recent experience indicates that buildings at risk include key symbols of American wealth and political power such as the U.S. Capitol building, the White House, and the New York Stock Exchange. They also include high-rise office buildings, such as the Empire State Building, the Sears Tower, and the