56 water tanks allocated for regional WA communities identified at risk to bushfires

Tom ShanahanGreat Southern Herald
Isabel VieiraGreat Southern Herald
Volunteer firefighters from 9 different Shire's throughout the Great Southern attended the blaze
Camera IconVolunteer firefighters from 9 different Shire's throughout the Great Southern attended the blaze Credit: Picture: Tom Shanahan

Regional communities identified as “high-risk” for bushfires in the Wheatbelt and Great Southern have received a welcome boost to their emergency response capabilities this summer.

More than 50 new water tanks are set to be constructed across regional WA, with more than 20 allocated to Wheatbelt shires including Wagin, Williams, Wandering and Narrogin.

Great Southern shires are also included in the rollout, with Woodanilling set to receive three new emergency supply tanks, each more than 100,000 litres.

Woodanilling Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade senior fire control officer Dale Douglas said the three new tanks had been strategically placed to service high-risk areas.

“This announcement is very welcome news to us because now we will have one tank in the east portion of the shire, one in the centre of town, and one out west which will be able to service out to Albany Highway,” he said.

“Water is a problem in our region with a drying climate.

“Most of our dams regularly don’t have enough water in them.

“These new tanks will help us diversify our water supply and mean we won’t have to depend on farmers’ dams to fight fires.”

Mr Douglas had similar concerns to those of Katanning fire control officer Norman Flugge, who last month warned fuel loads were higher than in previous years. “Always be prepared, don’t wait until the fire is upon us to get ready,” Mr Douglas said.

The shires of Jerramungup, Plantagenet and Albany are also in line to receive new tanks this summer. The $1.2 million investment follows an earlier $800,000 investment in December to build 61 tanks — between 12,000 and 170,000 litres — bringing the pro-gram’s total to $2m and 117 tanks.

It comes under the State Government’s $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan, of which $15m was set aside for emergency services.

Agricultural Region MLC Shelley Payne said the funding ensured local bush fire brigades around the electorate of Roe were equipped to protect their communities.

“Our community understands the very real threat of bushfire and we know how important our local bush fire brigades are,” she said.

“When bushfires strike, local bush fire brigades are often the first to respond.”

WA Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby said “every minute counts” in an emergency, and having faster access to water could be crucial.”

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