Important information for fire-affected communities
Updated 24 Jan 2020:
If you need water in an emergency for livestock or for fire suppression, there are several options across the region. However, these will depend on your ability to access the water, given the isolation still experienced in many areas with continuing fires and road closures.
Please use alternative suitable supplies for livestock and fire suppression wherever feasible and safe to do so, to reduce the demand on the drinking water supplies on town mains.
In some communities, it isn’t yet known whether community bore access points remain operational, because assessments have not been possible.
We will keep you updated here and through the bushfire relief coordinators.
- River or creek water:
You may take water from any river or creek, where it is safe to do so. Please be aware that the quality of the water may not necessarily be suitable for stock to drink, especially once rain washes ash and fire debris into the system. If you are at Orbost and want to take water from the Snowy River, please use the section west of the Princes Hwy bridge, as it will be too saline below for stock to drink (this would be suitable for fire suppression). If you have further questions, please call our team on 1300 139 510.
- Community bores:
We are working with council and others who manage community bores in the East Gippsland region to check whether they are still operational and accessible. We will keep this message updated when more information is known.
Swifts Creek Recreation Reserve on Cassilis Rd now has a connection point for people to fill up a water ‘cube’ or slip-on unit for transport of water for emergency livestock relief. You will need a male 50 mm Camlock fitting and pump to access this water as it is not a standpipe. Please limit use to 1,000 litres each, in order to satisfy the strong demand without depleting resources.
The recreation reserve is located in Cassilis Rd 750 m from the intersection with the Great Alpine Road. Enter through the Bowling Club. There is a channel and a red and black marker post. The connection point is approximately 8 m in front of this on the right-hand side.
Goose Gully, Lucknow: There is a standpipe (groundwater) at the former Goose Gully golf course which can be accessed for an emergency water supply for livestock, fire suppression and washing down.
SRW has worked with the Incident, Relief and Recovery teams and the property owner to enable access to this standpipe. Access hours are: 7am – 7pm, 7 days a week. This standpipe is suitable for small transportable water storage such as water cubes/slip-on units.
Please be considerate of other people accessing the resource and obey any instructions regarding traffic management.
Usage is capped at 4,000 litres per person per day, to help ensure we can supply the urgent demand for emergency water in the local area without depleting resources. Maximum cartage volume is 4,000 litres. Access and parking at the standpipe is suitable for general vehicles and trailers, and light trucks (limit to 4 Tonne gross). No semi-trailers are permitted due to space constrictions and load limits to protect private property.
Location: The Goose Gully standpipe is located in the carpark at the old golf course, 90 Balfours Road, Lucknow.
- Maffra Weir – non-potable water available for water carters
Southern Rural Water has arranged an access point at the Maffra Weir pool for cartage contractors with their own pumps. Anyone seeking to access this supply point should contact SRW on 1300 319 510 to arrange timing and verify details.
Water carters need to ensure they have road access to their delivery point and should have appropriate permissions from the ICC in Bairnsdale before accessing water points.
It is preferred that only single tankers access this site.
- Replacement of water used for firefighting
Property owners who have had water taken from dams or other private water supplies by DELWP or CFA can apply to have the water replaced.
Essential water replacement requests must be submitted within 3 months of the water being taken.
To make a request, fill in the Essential Water Replacement form.
5. Agriculture Victoria information:
For a comprehensive summary of relief and recovery questions related to managing your farm and animals after a fire, please see the links on the dedicated Agriculture Victoria page for Gippsland and Upper Murray Fires.
We will keep this page updated with safe supply points for water for emergency livestock relief and fire suppression.
How you can support fire-affected communities
For those who want to know how to support East Gippsland communities, Vic Emergency has requested no further donations of clothing or supplies, as it is difficult to transport and store at this stage. Instead, they have suggested financial support through registered charities and funds.
Some of the best avenues include:
The long-standing Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund(GERF) runs on a sound governance process with charity status. It provides immediate financial assistance to those who have lost their homes or property. Applicants go through East Gippsland Shire Council and their applications are then assessed at GERF and payments made quickly. You can donate to GERF via PayPal, or at any NAB branch, via mail or in person at Alan Wilson Insurance Brokers, 40 Argyle Street Traralgon (more info in the link below). See more at the gerf.org.au website
The Victorian Bushfire Appeal has been launched by the Victorian Government, with the support of the Bendigo Bank and the Salvation Army. The fund will ensure 100% of appeal funds go to those in need in the bushfire-affected communities across the state.
For those who want to donate towards feed for livestock, this is being coordinated through the Heyfield Lions Club – Supporting Gippsland Farmers – program or through the national Need for Feed program. They have already started their runs to East Gippsland, when fire conditions and road access make it possible – their banking details for donations are on their 1 Jan post.
Gippsland Farmer Relief Inc, is also a registered charity, which accepts financial donations to support the great work they do.
The Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery program assists with emergency assistance in the evacuation relief centres, provides cash grants to people for immediate needs to those who have lost their homes, and helps with longer-term recovery in those communities.