Bushfires and your water supply

Preparing for the bushfire season

Parts of our service region have been identified as high fire danger areas by the Country Fire Authority (CFA).

Our crews prepare for bushfire emergencies and are on standby to make urgent repairs to water mains and hydrants. However, they may not be able to safely access water supplies or respond to system failures.

Work in progress

Loss of electricity supply may cause our pumps, which transfer water, to fail. Extreme increased use of water by residents and the CFA during a bushfire may also cause a reduction in water pressure throughout our pipe networks.

We therefore cannot guarantee that water pressure or an uninterrupted water supply will be maintained during a bushfire.

How you can prepare

Keep a supply of drinking water in your fridge in preparation for high risk days or when bushfires are likely (three litres of water per person, per day is recommended as the minimum amount to have on hand).

We urge customers, particularly those in fire-prone areas and on rural properties, to consider alternative water supplies to fight fires as part of their fire plan.

The Country Fire Authority says that if you are confident, capable and prepared to actively defend your property, you should have the following resources and equipment as a minimum:

  • 10,000 litres of water (other than mains supply) 
  • A firefighting pump that is protected from radiant heat and not reliant on mains power supply
  • Firefighting hoses that reach all the way around your home
  • Personal protective clothing.

Talk to a water pump specialist for suitable petrol or diesel fire-fighting pumps as well as fittings and hoses required to protect your home.

Download our Bushfires and Your Water Supply Information Sheet.

How we prepare

We prepare for the bushfire season by readying our people and our pipe networks to cope with extreme conditions. Our initiatives include:

  • Clearing of land and access tracks within and around storage areas and catchments 
  • Back up generators at key sites, including major pumping stations and water sources
  • Transportable generators for deployment as required
  • Access to water carters to transport emergency water supplies should the need arise

Fire plugs

We work closely with the CFA in the event of a bushfire so that:

  • Firefighters can quickly locate fire hydrants
  • Firefighters have the best access to available water supplies
  • Disruptions, or low pressure, to customers connected to our reticulation system are minimised.

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Your water supply

Water restrictions during a bushfire 

Water restrictions do not apply if a fire is threatening your property.

Use of water for fire fighting

The Country Fire Authority Act 1958 provides powers to fire agencies to take water from any waterway or any other source of water supply on public or private land for fire fighting purposes.

Fire fighting

There are arrangements for essential water taken during a bushfire. 

Essential water is defined as water to sustain people, stock, and crops. Stock and domestic water will be replaced to provide for essential stock and domestic needs only. Water taken from licensed/registered dams used for irrigation will be replaced to provide for agricultural and horticultural crops or permanent plantings.

Fire agencies will now leave 'calling cards' at properties where water was taken. These calling cards provide information to landholders about the water replacement process. The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) is establishing a website to help inform landholders about the replacement process

Request replacement of essential water

You can seek to have essential water replaced that has been removed from private water supplies by fire agencies provided it has been used for bushfire suppression operations. Read more in the Essential Water Policy.

Claims must be made by lodging the approved DEECA application form.

A state-wide DEECA team will receive and process all requests through a generic email address: emergency.recovery@delwp.vic.gov.au. The team can be contacted by phone on 03 5226 4667.

All requests for essential water replacement are to go to this email account and not your local council or water authority.

DEECA and CFA officers will verify volumes being requested against fire event records taken by the fire agencies. Councils will be given verified volumes and addresses of properties requiring essential water replacement. Councils will then arrange water cartage contractors to re-supply affected properties once it is safe to do so. For additional information visit Forest Fire Management Victoria.

Planned burns

Forest Fire Management Victoria works to keep communities safe year round by reducing the risk of bushfires across the state.

Information is available at Forest Fire Management Vicoria's Planned Burns site.

For further advice 

For information and advice on preparing your family and home for the bushfire season, it is recommended you consult the CFA.

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More information

Contacts during a bushfire:

Emergency  000 
CFA and DSE bushfire information  1800 240 667 
VicRoads road closure information  131 170 
Wildlife rescue  1300 094 535 
State Emergency Services (SES)  132 500 

Information during a bushfire:

ABC radio   774AM 
Your ABC local station  
ACE radio   
  • Coast FM 
  • 3YB 
 94.5 FM
  • Mixx FM (Hamilton)
  • Mixx FM (Portland)
  • 3HA 
CFA & DSE bushfire information  1800 240 667 
CFA website   Click here 
DEECA website   Click here 
Media outlets across the state   TV & newspapers

Recovering from a bushfire

Information about recovering from a bushfire including links to support services.


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