Western Australia

Emergency water upgrades dampen remote bushfire risks

A major project to upgrade emergency water supplies in a remote Great Southern community, declared ‘undefendable’ from catastrophic bushfires six years ago, is now complete.

In 2012, the Point Henry community was forced to evacuate due to an out-of-control bushfire, similar to a blaze a decade earlier that razed the growing residential subdivision on an isolated peninsula 10 kilometres south of the coastal hamlet of Bremer Bay.

With the area continuing to be identified as an extreme bushfire risk by the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services, a partnership between the State Government and the Shire of Jerramungup has increased emergency water supply capacity to more than 400,000 litres -enough to fill about 10 backyard swimming pools.

The WA Government provided a $46,282 grant through the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s Rural Water Planning program, and the Shire provided $25,000 towards the project which started in October 2017. The project included:

  • The replacement of a 20,000 litre water tank in Point Henry with two new 135,000 litre tanks;
  • Installation of a 135,000 litre tank at the Jerramungup airstrip; and
  • Installation of a bore pump to the tank at the Bremer Bay airstrip for rapid re-filling of aerial firebombers and fire trucks.

These strategic emergency water supply upgrades complement a $66,000 grant from the WA Government’s $15 million Mitigation Activity Fund for the Shire to treat a further 42 bushfire risks in the area.

This included the Jerramungup and Bremer Bay townsites and surrounding Fitzgerald River National Park, which forms part of the recently expanded 1.5 million hectares of conservation estate, State waters, farmland, and industrial and urban areas recognised globally as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The State Government also recently completed a $1.7 million water project to increase the water supply scheme in the coastal holiday town of Bremer Bay by about 30 per cent.

Source: WA Government