- Residents in bushfire prone areas who choose to stay and defend their property must have an independent water supply
- Damaged infrastructure or a cut to power can result in the loss of scheme water
The McGowan Government is reminding people living in bushfire prone areas to not rely on scheme water supplies during a bushfire if they plan to stay and defend their home.
Water Corporation will do all it can to maintain scheme water during a bushfire but heat-damaged infrastructure, or a cut to power, may result in a loss of supply. High demand for water will also lead to a drop in water pressure and water supply tanks will empty quickly.
Residents who plan to defend their home in the event of a bushfire must ensure they have an independent water supply, and a pumping capability in the event of a total loss of power.
According to the Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook: August 2019, parts of Western Australia – particularly across the South-West – are likely to experience above normal fire potential this bushfire season.
To find out how to prepare for a bushfire, including having an independent water supply, visit: http://www.firechat.wa.gov.au
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 on this visit the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s website at http://www.water.wa.gov.au/fireplanning
Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“Water Corporation is prepared for the bushfire season but cannot guarantee scheme water will be maintained during a bushfire.
“If you chose to stay and defend your home on the assumption water will keep coming out of your tap or hose – the consequences could be life threatening.
“Many people do not realise that pipes and other infrastructure such as tanks and pump stations could be damaged well before a bushfire reaches anywhere near your property.
“The safety and wellbeing of Water Corporation crews is priority, and they will never be sent into a dangerous situation to make repairs.
“It is crucial you plan to have your own water supply if you intend to stay and defend your property.
“The scheme water network is designed to provide drinking water to the community – it is not designed for fighting bushfires.
“I urge everyone living in bushfire prone areas to take the time to plan your response and ensure you are prepared in the event of a bushfire.”
Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan:
“Western Australia is about to face a period of extreme temperatures when the threat of bushfire will be very real.
“Staying to defend against a bushfire requires far more equipment and planning than many people realise, and that includes having an independent water source with an independent power supply.
“The radiant heat from bushfires can melt hoses and plastic fittings, and be so intense that no amount of water will stop it.
“Bushfires can send thousands of embers several kilometres ahead of the front, which will cause blazes that will knock out power supplies and therefore the water supply before the main fire even hits you.
“If you have time now, then make sure you have put in place a robust and independent water supply, but that means having at least 20,000 litres and a generator with enough fuel to power a water pump.
“So if you haven’t done that already, then time is rapidly running out to put appropriate measures in place.
“Instead have a five-minute Fire Chat today to create a plan that could save your life.
“The best option is to always leave early, so you need to decide now about when you will leave, where you will go and how you will get there.
“I urge everyone in high-risk areas to go on the Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ website today and make a bushfire plan.”