The NSW Government is concentrating its efforts on ensuring dam storages critical to Sydney’s water supply are protected from ash and debris, following the recent fires.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said WaterNSW has already deployed silt curtains and booms at Warragamba Dam to mitigate the inflow of ash to the system in the event of significant rainfall.
“Our priority is protecting Sydney’s drinking water supplies,” Mrs Pavey said.
“The recent fires threatened significant water infrastructure at Warragamba. While much of the catchment has been affected by fire, work by WaterNSW along with the RFS, helped prevent damage to the infrastructure.”
Following bushfires, water quality impacts are typically triggered by significant rainfall events. Low intensity rain is forecast for the next 7 days which does not pose a risk to water quality as the rainfall is not considered sufficient to wash material into dam storages.
“WaterNSW are on-site at Warragamba deploying silt blankets and floating booms to ensure key water inflow points to the dam storage are safe to access,” Mrs Pavey said.
“Silt curtains and floating barriers help to mitigate the inflow of ash into dams, reducing additional pressure on water treatment plants. WaterNSW has an additional 1,000m of silt curtains in case they are needed in either Nepean or Tallowa Dams.”
Water quality in key metropolitan supply storages, such as Warragamba and Tallowa, are being monitored by highly experienced scientists using sophisticated, real-time technology pioneered by WaterNSW.
“We have worked closely with the RFS to ensure fire retardant chemicals used near Warragamba Dam are appropriate, and that exclusion zones were in place to avoid the use of retardants in close proximity to water where possible,” Mrs Pavey said.
“The NSW Government is also assisting local councils as the utility providers in areas affected by the recent fires by deploying resources to help with the management of their water supplies, including carting water where necessary.”