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Boral Johns River Quarry manager Chris Brown and Johns River RFS captain Bruce Dudley after commissioning the water storage facility.
Boral Johns River Quarry manager Chris Brown and Johns River RFS captain Bruce Dudley after commissioning the water storage facility.

Site equips firefighters with run-off water

With an advanced fire season in New South Wales, the mid-north Johns River Rural Fire Service brigade is better prepared to tackle fires, thanks to a Boral Quarry’s new water storage facility.

The facility is fully equipped with hose fittings to support the local RFS brigade with additional water supply, according to Boral Johns River Quarry manager Chris Brown.

“With the bushfire season brought forward and drought conditions taking full effect, static water supplies are a vital source of fire fighting water for the rural fire service,” Brown said.

Boral Johns River Quarry.
Boral Johns River Quarry.

With 525 bushfires burning across NSW in July – double the number last year – the bushfire season for a substantial portion of the state’s west and north was brought forward from October to the beginning of August.

“The Rural Fire Service has trialled the resource and it works great,” Brown said. “Fortunately, the RFS did not have to use the water source in recent times as the fires have been in other areas.”

He said Boral had been a community partner in the Johns River region for two decades, providing employment and, as part of its “social licence”, it has been working in liaison with volunteer organisations – including the RFS.
 

 Adequate water supply

Brown said the impetus for the water facility came when tey a small fire truck was observed struggling to fill up during a bushfire, due to limited surface water supply from a nearby creek.

“This meant the truck had to use a smaller diameter, longer suction line to fill the truck with water,” Brown said. “What should be a quick exercise, resulted in an extremely long process to fill their truck before starting back towards the fire.”

“What was needed was another option with a safe, easily accessible, quick filling and fast turnaround water supply,” he added.

“With the bushfire season brought forward and drought conditions taking full effect, static water supplies are a vital source of fire fighting water for the rural fire service”
Chris Brown, Boral Johns River

To that end, Johns River Quarry constructed a new settlement basin at the front of the quarry to capture additional stormwater run-off and to assist with the control of water before discharging to the site.

A proposal was made to the local NSW Rural Fire Service to donate any excess water as well as have permanent access with a dedicated high flow suction line for the NSW Rural Fire Service, with Storz fittings at waist height.

“The local Rural Fire Service representative welcomed the idea as it corresponds with the Static Water Supply (SWS) program of the NSW Rural Fire Service and it has been set up on the NSW RFS database,” Brown said, adding that such supplies provided a vital source of water for firefighters.

Fire-fighting helicopters too have unrestricted access to the water supply.

Johns River RFS captain, Bruce Dudley, praised Boral’s support.

“Having Boral's support in creating this new water source is great and will really assist us to help the community,” he said.

Dudley said the RFS has developed a map of strategic water supply locations in the area to help out the community when needed.


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Multiple quarries to supply drinking water

 











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