The devastating fires in Australia over the 2019-2020 period highlighted the need for the water industry to have practical guidance ready at hand for the management of drinking water supplies during such events.

Over 12 million hectares of bush was burnt across the Australian landscape, and vast areas of drinking water catchments in NSW and Victoria were impacted. This was exacerbated by record-breaking temperatures, severe drought and high winds.

The intent of this Guideline is to utilise the current knowledge and experience in the industry to provide practical guidance across the water sector on bushfire and water quality management. The Guideline aims to provide support to planning and operational staff within a water utility so that they can plan, respond and recover from a bushfire emergency based on sound practical experience.

The Guideline is underpinned by a number of practical case studies from water utilities around Australia.


AuthorWater Services Association of Australia and Arran Canning, WaterFutures
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Bushfire management: National good practice operational guidelines for the Australian water industry PDF
Appendix A North East Water critical infrastructure rating (CIR) PDF
Appendix B Hydrodynamic modelling for bushfire management and recovery in the catchment from Melbourne Water PDF
Appendix C North East Victoria & Gippsland Bushfire Rapid Risk Assessment Team Report from 2013 Alpine fires PDF
Appendix D SA Water experience with the application of coir logs PDF
Appendix E Melbourne Water's experience with the application of debris racks and sediment dams PDF
Appendix F Managing water quality in the Huon River catchment PDF
Appendix G Drought, fires, flood and water quality PDF
Appendix H Monitoring water quality and managing turbidity after the Perth Hills bushfire PDF
Appendix I Lindfield Park Road rehydration project PDF
Appendix J Getting started on bushfire recovery PDF