The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has released a new Bushfire Management Guideline to help water utilities be more prepared during bushfire events.
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 document comes in the wake of the devastating fires over 2019-20, which burnt over 12 million hectares of bush, including vast areas of drinking water catchments.
The fires were exacerbated by record-breaking temperatures, severe drought and high winds.
WSAA said the bushfires highlighted the need for the water industry to have practical guidance ready at hand for the management of drinking water supplies during such events.
The guidance is underpinned by a number of practical case studies from water utilities around Australia.
WSAA and the Department of Home Affairs acknowledged the leadership of the Water Sector Services Group in supporting the development of these guidelines, to improve the resilience of the Australian water sector.
WSAA thanked its members and stakeholders that contributed to the preparation of the document, in particular the case studies which provide practical information for water utilities as they seek to prepare and respond to bushfires.