Important reminder not to rely on scheme water during bushfire

  • Independent water supply and pumping capability is vital when planning to stay and defend during a bushfire
  • Damaged infrastructure or power outage can result in loss of scheme water
  • Above normal bushfire potential predicted for areas across central and southern WA
  • Water Minister Dave Kelly has reminded residents in bushfire prone areas to consider their water supply in preparation for a challenging bushfire season.

    During a bushfire, infrastructure that delivers scheme water to properties can be damaged and power failures can result in a total loss of water.

    High demand can also lead to a drop in water pressure and water supply tanks can quickly empty.

    While leaving during a bushfire is always the safest option, residents planning to defend their home must have an independent water supply, such as water tanks and pumping capability in the event of power loss.

    According to Bushfire Seasonal Outlook for Summer 2022* a higher-than-normal fire risk is forecast for central western and southern areas of the State this summer.

    Parts of the Pilbara, Carnarvon, Gascoyne and Murchison are at risk due to increased fuel loads and higher than average temperatures predicted over the coming months, while below average rainfall throughout winter has resulted in low soil moisture for areas throughout the South-West, which will also result in an increased risk throughout summer. 

    As part of its bushfire preparedness program Water Corporation undertakes a number of activities throughout the year to reduce risk to critical infrastructure.

    This includes clearing land and access tracks within and around pumping stations, storage areas and catchments, and having generators and emergency water carters on standby. During a bushfire it may not be safe for crews to manage or repair damage to the network.

    For more information about how a bushfire can impact your water supply, visit watercorporation.com.au/Help-and-advice/Water-issues/Natural-disasters-and-incidents/Bushfires-and-your-water-supply

    The Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ My Bushfire Plan can help you prepare by creating a personal bushfire survival plan. Visit the My Bushfire Plan website and mobile app at https://mybushfireplan.wa.gov.au for more information.

    To support bushfire plans, landowners or occupiers with safe access to bores, rivers, streams or creeks can take and store emergency water without it counting against their entitlements. For more information visit the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s website at https://www.water.wa.gov.au/fireplanning

    As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:

    “The impacts of climate change continue to be felt across our State. This is particularly true in central and southern regions where reduced rainfall and higher daily average temperatures have created conditions for another season of severe bushfires.   

    “I urge people in bushfire prone areas to plan ahead – do not expect scheme water to be available during a bushfire.

    “The water supply network is designed to provide drinking water to the community, not fight bushfires, and assuming water will always be available during a bushfire could have life-threatening consequences.

    “It’s a simple message, but it’s important – if you are planning to stay and defend your property then make sure you have an independent water supply and pumping capability.”

    As stated by Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson:

    “Bushfires pose a significant threat to homes and families across our State, and unfortunately this year will be no different with many regions facing a higher-than-normal risk throughout the hot, dry months ahead.

    “Leaving high-risk bushfire prone areas is the safest thing to do, but if you choose to stay and defend your home during a bushfire it’s crucial you have a plan in place.

    “That means ensuring you have your own independent water supply, ideally at least 20,000 litres, and pumping capability.

    “Indecision can be the single biggest killer during a bushfire. I urge everyone to use the My Bushfire Plan website and mobile app to create a plan that could save your life.”

    *Source: Bushfire Seasonal Outlook for Summer 2022 produced by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), the national council for fire and emergency services in Australia and New Zealand.

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