Bushfire Water Tank Requirements

by Aug 18, 2021Bushfire Protection, Help & Advice, Statistics & Data

Climate change experts are predicting an increase in the number and intensity of bushfires across Australia in the next few years. As a result of the intense bush fires across Australia in the last few years, all States have developed a set of requirements and guidelines for the storage of water in different locations.

Bushfire Prone Land


The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) has defined bush fire prone land (BFPL) as land identified by the local council which can support a bush fire or is subject to bush fire attack. They have developed bush fire prone land maps and resources such as:

  • Building in Bush Fire Prone Areas
  • Water Supply for Fire Fighting Purposes

In Queensland, the Queensland Fire Emergency Service (QFES) uses the terms Bush Fire Hazard Area (BFHA) interchangeably with Bush Fire Prone Areas (BFPA) and have produced different shapefiles for 13 different regions across Queensland. For example:

  • Bushfire Prone Area – Wide Bay Burnett Spatial Data Format

Fire Danger Rating


A common feature of the requirements is the Bushfire Attack Levels (BALs) which were developed to help State and National Governments indicate to property owners and builders the different requirements for each of the different levels of bushfire risk. The six BALs based on radiant heat flux exposure threshold are as follows.

  • BAL-12.5
  • BAL-19
  • BAL-29
  • BAL-40 and
  • BAL-FZ
Bushfire Water Tank Requirements

Each State has different requirements and Guidelines. These could include:

  • The water storage requirements depending on property size and the type of development (see Building in Bushfire Prone Areas  )
  • TA dedicated bushfire water tank
  • TA combination water tank fitted for both bush fire and home purposes (see Bushfire Capability Package)
  • Appropriate access by the local Fire Service
  • Appropriate signage
  • A bushfire Plan which includes essential requirements if you decide to stay rather than go during a bushfire
  • A bushfire Survival Kit which should include things such as:
    • ladder, shovel, mop, bucket, hose, fire extinguisher, knapsack sprayer, first aid kit, medications and scripts, towels, blankets, safety goggles, masks, gloves, bottled water, battery radio, and batteries

Access to stored water is vital in a bushfire prone area because the local water supply might get cut off and you will need:

  • Access to water to put out spot fires
  • Access to a sprinkler system to keep the radiant heat down
  • To provide access to water by the local fire service

Setting up your water tank in a bushfire prone area


There are a range of factors to consider when setting up a water tank in a bushfire prone area. For example:

  • Building in Bush Fire Prone Areas
  • You will need a metal tank which will keep its structural integrity during a fire.
  • Do you want a stainless steel tank which is by far the safest and even more robust than an aquaplate/colorbond one?
  • There needs to be a clear space around the tanks site so that there is nothing that could burn and so that the local fire service truck can get good access to the tank outlet.
  • Your draw-off outlet needs to be fitted with the correct hose connections to connect to the local fire service appliances. Each State has a different fitting. For example, a Storz fitting is needed in NSW and a Camlock fitting in Qld.
  • Exposed PVC pipes and fitting will melt in a fire so make sure your valves and pipe fittings are made from metal to ensure they can withstand high temperatures.
  • Do not rely on an electric pump as power will most likely be cut off during a bush fire. It is best to have a diesel or petrol driven pump and your generator needs more than 1,5kVa capacity to drive the pump.
  • The generator and pump should be able to pump a minimum of 400 litres per minute and must be built with shielding from high temperatures.
  • You can install a dedicated water tank for firefighting purposes only or you could install a combination water tank where water can be stored for both firefighting and domestic use.
  • A minimum of 10,000 litres need to be available for firefighting purposes so combination tanks usually store more than 20,000 litres of water.
  • Check with the water storage requirements for your area depending on the type of property and the size of your property. See Building in a bushfire Area on the NSW RFS Website www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or one of the 13 different regional data sheets produced by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. www.qfes.gld.gov.au

Firefighting package


Select Water tanks have available a special fire-fighting package which includes

  • A stainless steel water tank to your size and shape
  • A Bianco fire-fighting quality standard pump (see Pumps and Filters)
  • A 65mm Storz fitting for NSW or a Camlock fitting for QLD for quick connection to your pump or to the local RFS system.
  • 30 metres of fire-fighting hose and nozzle
  • 5 metres of high-suction hose together with a Storz (NSW) or Camlock (QLD) coupling to allow fast connection to your tank

Bushfire Water Tank Requirements

Contact us today for any help or advice 

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