Water Corporation WA has reminded residents in bushfire-prone areas they cannot rely on a public water supply during a fire.
During a bushfire, damage to infrastructure, or a cut to power could result in the loss of public water supply.
Water Corporation WA South West regional manager John Janssen said residents planning on defending their home in the event of a bushfire must ensure they had an independent water supply.
They would also require pumping capability in the event of a total loss of power.
“It is a simple message but an important one – do not rely on scheme water to be available during a bushfire,” he said.
“It is crucial you have your own water supply if you intend to stay and defend your home. The scheme water network is designed to provide drinking water to the community – it is not designed for fighting bushfires.
“Water Corporation is prepared for the bushfire season but cannot guarantee scheme water can be maintained during a bushfire.”
Collie chief bushfire control officer Julian Martin said he was reluctant to encourage anyone to stay and defend in this day and age.
“Absolutely no one should stay and defend a property that is not well prepared with significant housekeeping around the property and structures, as well as a standalone water supply as a mains supply cannot be guaranteed, and a petrol-driven pump that is suitable, regularly serviced and tested as electricity supplies could also be affected,” he said.
“Gone are the days of waiting to see if things are looking bad or staying, it is well recognised that the safest action is to leave and to leave early.
“I encourage families to have a quick five-minute chat about what they plan to do if a bushfire is threatening their home.
“The plan should discuss what they would do for a watch and act warning before it’s upgraded to an emergency warning during a fire event.”
The reminder comes as the Water Corporation begins the final stage of a five-year $12.5 million program to install an additional 270 new fire hydrants across the state, starting in Nannup and Greenbushes.
Water Corporation has already installed about 2,400 additional hydrants and worked in consultation with Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Main Roads WA and local government authorities to determine locations.