$27m to protect catchments

$27m to protect catchments

 3 December 2007

published by www.theage.com.au

Australia — The Victorian Government is boosting measures to protect Melbourne’s water catchments before the bushfire season.

The Government is pumping up to $27 million into providing more resources, including firefighting aircraft, bulldozers, four-wheel-drive firefighting units and water tanks, Water Minister Tim Holding said yesterday.

Additionally, a 600-kilometre network of firebreaks around key catchment areas is being developed by Melbourne Water, the Department of Sustainability and Environment and Parks Victoria, he said.

“Protecting our water supply catchments is one of our highest priorities during the fire,” Mr Holding said.

He said the $27 million in resources funding was in addition to an annual $3 million investment in fire prevention.

“This includes the use of a 1300 litre water bombing helicopter, which can be at a fire in the catchments within 15 minutes, providing greater security for our water supply,” he said.

The Government is also committing $1 million to help fund a five-year University of Melbourne research program to examine the potential impacts of bushfire in catchment areas and the best ways to protect them, Mr Holding said.

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