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Much-needed rain poses a new threat for NSW

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Precautions are being taken to prevent bushfire ash from running into Sydney’s water supply.

Bushfires have raged through 320 hectares of national park around Warragamba Dam, prompting concerns silt and ash will pollute Sydney’s drinking water.

With rainfall predicted in parts of NSW this week, the NSW government is installing silt curtains and booms to prevent any debris or ash from running into the dam.

NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey tells John Stanley they’re “very cognisant” of the risk of pollution.

“If we have torrents of water coming down those fire-affected hills around Warragamba Dam, we know that we’re going to have a lot of fire debris find its way into the catchment.

“We’ll be continuing to treat our water for whatever happens.”

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Professor Stuart Khan from the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering tells Deborah Knight it’s unlikely the water will become contaminated.

“If we have a really heavy rainfall event, a lot of that ash will end up in our reservoirs, and that’s where I think we’ll see the big impacts in the dams and potentially things like fish kills.

“But our water treatment plants, for the most part, should be able to deal with the challenge.”

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Image: Getty/Brook Mitchell