• Residents who stay and defend their property against bushfire need an independent water supply and pumping capability
  • Damaged infrastructure or power outage can result in loss of scheme water
  • Higher bushfire risk predicted for South-West

With another challenging bushfire season predicted for southern Western Australia, the Minister for Water today reminded the community not to rely on their scheme water supply if they plan to stay and defend their property.

Heat-damaged water infrastructure or power outage may result in a loss of supply. High demand will also lead to a drop in pressure and water supply tanks can empty quickly.

While leaving high-risk bushfire areas is the safest option, those planning to defend their home must have an independent water supply such as water tanks and pumping capability in the event of power loss.

The Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook: December 2020 – February 2021 forecasts greater fire risk this bushfire season, with Swan Coastal Plain, Avon Wheatbelt, Jarrah Forest, Warren, Mallee and Esperance Plains bioregions all being identified as having ‘above normal fire potential’.

Water Corporation prepares for the bushfire season by clearing land and access tracks within and around its pumping stations, storage areas and catchments, and having generators and emergency water carters on standby. However, it may not be safe for its crews to enter a bushfire zone to manage or repair the network.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ new My Bushfire Plan website and mobile app guides users through the creation of a plan that can be completed in minutes. The app is available from the App Store, Google Play or https://mybushfireplan.wa.gov.au

To support bushfire plans, landowners or occupiers can take and store emergency water without it counting against their annual entitlement. For more information, 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:

“Climate change is putting Western Australians at greater bushfire risk than ever before.

“Scheme water supply cannot be relied upon during a bushfire, if you choose to stay and defend your home, you must have an independent water supply and power source.

“While Water Corporation does everything possible to maintain supply, water tanks and pump stations could be damaged before the fire front reaches your property.”

Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan:

“The last bushfire season was one of the worst in recent times with around 17 million hectares burned across the country, including more than two million in WA. Unfortunately, the outlook for southern WA looks just as bad this summer, so bushfires could happen anywhere, anytime.

“Staying to defend against a bushfire requires far more equipment and planning than many people realise. It’s crucial you have your own independent water supply, ideally at least 20,000 litres, and pumping capability.

“I urge everyone to use the new My Bushfire Plan website and mobile app to create a plan that could save your life.”