Over the past few months it has been devastating to witness the impact of the bushfires across Australia. While recent rain and cooler temperatures have been a welcome sight to many, several of our members continue to be heavily stretched with bushfires in their area of operations.
Mangrove Creek Dam bushfire 2019 (Shane Geerin, NSW RFS)
Others are starting the recovery and preparing for any water quality impacts that come with rainfall. With Summer far from over we know there could be more challenges to come.
To support our members and the industry through the bushfire season and in their recovery, we are working with water utilities to share bushfire and water quality knowledge and experience.
In response to feedback from our members we are:
- Preparing practical material on bushfires and water quality including real case studies from water utilities who have previously recovered from bushfires.
- Supporting the NSW Water Directorate who are hosting a workshop on 3 February in Sydney to share knowledge with NSW local water utilities on bushfires and water quality management planning.
- Sharing forecast information from the Bureau of Meteorology with our members.
- Liaising with state and federal government agencies (including health departments, water departments and Home Affairs), WaterRA, the AWA and the NSW Water Directorate.
Water utilities should also be aware of the Water Sector Mutual Aid guidelines developed by WSAA and the Water Services Sector Group (WSSG) to help coordinate water sector specific assistance, expertise and resources from other water sector organisations when a WSAA member has depleted all other resources within their organisation and community in response to and recovery from a disaster or emergency event.
We are in deep appreciation of the thousands of volunteers fighting the fires, assisting communities, loved ones, stock and wildlife, and the massive effort of many utilities to maintain water services over the past months. We have been thinking of all our members, their staff and communities that have been directly impacted by the fires. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help both now or in the recovery phase.