Bushfire requirements for rainwater tanks in NSW

When building or renovating a home in a designated bushfire zone, a condition of the development application may be to include a static water storage on the property.The water supply should be available at all times, for the purpose of assisting the home occupier and/or the local fire authority with fighting or preventing a bushfire. Dedicated water supply requirements are based on the lot size, and are governed by the Rural Fire Service.The storage tank should be easy to locate, and fitted with a Storz connection.

What size water tank is required for bush fire protection?

Residential Lots (<1,000m2)

Development Type: Residential Lots (<1,000m2)

Water Requirement: 5,000 l/lot

Rural-residential Lots (1,000 – 10,000m2) <1 ha

Development Type: Rural-residential Lots (1,000 – 10,000m2) <1 ha

Water Requirement: 10,000 l/lot

Large Rural/Lifestyle Lots (>10,000m2) >1 ha

Development Type: Large Rural/Lifestyle Lots (>10,000m2) >1 ha

Water Requirement: 20,000 l/lot

Dual Occupancy

Development Type: Dual Occupancy

Water Requirement: 2,500 l/unit

Townhouse/Unit Style (e.g. Flats)

Development Type: Townhouse/Unit Style (e.g. Flats)

Water Requirement: 5,000 l/unit up to 20,000l maximum.

Other requirements

  • Any onsite stored water supply shall be easily identifiable from the street frontage with appropriate signage directing fire fighters towards the side of the asset where the supply is located;
  • A 65mm Storz outlet for firefighting purposes is made available at the lowest possible point on the tank;
  • Gate or Ball valve and pipes are adequate for water flow and are metal rather than plastic;
  • Underground tanks have an access hole of 200mm to allow tankers to refill direct from the tank. A hardened ground surface for truck access is supplied within 4 metres of the access hole;
  • Above ground tanks are manufactured of concrete or metal and raised tanks have their stands protected.
  • Plastic tanks are not to be used, but can be used as an alternate solution if an appropriate protection measure for the tank is submitted.
  • Tanks on the hazard side of a building:
  • Have all above ground water pipes external to the building made of metal including and up to any taps.
  • Have shielding to protect pumps from radiant heat and direct flame contact.

Requirements for BASIX in addition to Fire Protection

  • Dedicated water storage for bush fire protection is in addition to requirements that form part of a BASIX certificate.
  • The water storage for BASIX and fire requirements may be contained in separate tanks, or may be in one tank of the combined capacity, with an outlet positioned to allow the upper portion of the tank to be drawn off for BASIX purposes.
  • The Rural Fire Services have clarified that dedicated water storage for fire protection may be used for other purposes from time to time (e.g. gardening), however the onus is on the home occupier to ensure the availability of water during high risk times.