Warragamba fire eases, priority to protect water quality

Warragamba fire eases, priority to protect water quality

12 December 2019

As the fire risk around Warragamba Dam eases, WaterNSW is now concentrating its efforts on ensuring that ash and debris in raw water supply is minimised.

The extent of any water quality impacts on water in the dam storage will depend upon the ultimate extent of the fires, which are still burning, and the timing and intensity of the next significant rainfall.

As the State’s drinking water catchment protection specialists, WaterNSW has bolstered its existing water quality safeguards with temporary measures, in a comprehensive strategy that includes:

  • The deployment of booms and curtains to intercept or isolate inflows that pose a water quality risk to the storage.
  • Highly experienced water quality scientists using the sophisticated, real-time monitoring technology and models pioneered by WaterNSW to predict where in the storage water quality may change. (Recent inspections confirm that critical water monitoring instrumentation remains fully operational).
  • The capability to select water from various dams and from varying storage depths within dams including Warragamba, ensuring that the bulk water supplied to Sydney Water and local councils is within the operating parameters of their treatment plants.

CEO, David Harris, said the WaterNSW team are experts with years of experience in identifying, understanding and mitigating potential risks to water quality in its catchment dam storages.

“Protecting the quality and quantity of the source of supply for Greater Sydney’s drinking water is our core function and after two decades of doing so WaterNSW is well-recognised as an expert leader in this field,” he said. “While unfortunately no major rain event is forecast for the catchment any time soon, a network of floating barriers, combined with our scientific know-how and our ability to release water for treatment from various depths in Warragamba Dam, ensures that risk factors are identified, intercepted or isolated.

“We completed hazard reduction burns strategically throughout the year to protect key supply assets, and the fire-fighters who have worked so hard fighting the fires at Warragamba did so consistent with our asset protection strategy to minimise the risk of an interruption to supply.”

Prior to the bushfires WaterNSW had undertaken 1,125 hectares of hazard reduction burns.

T: 1300 662 077.

Media contact: Tony Webber, 0428 613 478

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Tuesday 31 March