I am a graduate student, and I am interested in doing my thesis on the modeling of utility networks, and how they are related / dependent on each other. A specific case I would like to model is the effect of simulating the effects on water treatment and delivery networks, from interruptions in electrical networks. I have located some open water network data, and I can also extract electrical network data from sources like OpenStreetMap, but I would still need some information about where water treatment plants are located, and if they also happen to be connected via underground cables.
I thought about contacting the city on which I am planning on doing my modeling, but I feel as though it may be alarming to them to have a random person (currently going to school in a foreign country) suddenly asking questions about their critical infrastructure. When asked why, my truthful answer of "I want to assess where the network may be most vulnerable to interruption" would likely not settle any uncertainties.
I am wondering if anybody has any experience in approaching this kind of situation.