Water Corporation issues water scheme reliance warning ahead of bushfire season

Taylar AmoniniBusselton Dunsborough Times
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An images from the Contos bushfire.
Camera IconAn images from the Contos bushfire. Credit: DFES Incident Photographer Sean Blocksidge/DFES Incident Photographer Sean Blocksidge

In the wake of the devastating bushfire which ripped through the Margaret River region, South West locals are being reminded not to rely on scheme water to defend their properties.

The Water Corporation has reminded property defenders their bushfire plans need to involve independent water supplies given rapid loss of water is a common occurrence during blazes.

South West manager Nicky Waite said scheme water could not be relied on to defend properties, with more than 20,000 litres of independent water needed.

“The large fire in the shire of Augusta-Margaret River is a timely reminder of the need to be prepared as this summer’s bushfire outlook is a concern,” she said.

She said there were expected to be higher-than average temperatures and higher grass fuel loads.

“Water Corporation does everything possible to maintain scheme water supply, however assuming water will keep flowing during a bushfire could have life-threatening consequences,” Ms Waite said.

“Bushfires can send thousands of embers several kilometres ahead, which can knock out the power and therefore the water supply before the main fire ... also the radiant heat can be so intense that no amount of water will stop it.

“Scheme water networks are designed to provide drinking water, so it’s crucial you have independent water supply and pumping capability.

The Water Corporation has prepared for the bushfire season by clearing land and access tracks within and around its pumping stations, storage areas and catchments ,as well as having generators and emergency water carters on standby.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ My Bushfire Plan website and mobile app guides users through the creation of a plan.

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.

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