How much tank water storage do I need for bushfire fighting?

Bushfires have been occurring in Australia for centuries, and will always present a real threat to properties and assets situated in or near bushland or grassland. Having significant on-site water storage reserved for bushfire fighting is an essential component of a bushfire defence plan.

Why can’t I use mains water for fight fighting?

There is a lot of demand for mains water in a bushfire event. Typically, many people in the affected area trying to hose down buildings, fill gutters and buckets, etc. which reduces the available water pressure dramatically. The biggest factor however is fire trucks – these units connect to the fire hydrants in the streets to refill their tanks. They have large pumps with powerful suction that will often literally draw all or almost all the available mains water in an area.
Another factor is that outlying properties tend to be at the end of the mains water pipework gird, meaning they are the most likely to have interruption to mains water supply in a fire event.
Therefore, mains water cannot be relied on for bushfire fighting..

How much tank water storage do I need for bushfire fighting?

There is no one right answer for this question, as many factors have to be taken into account. Key factors include but are not limited to the following.
• Proximity of the property to bushland or grassland – properties closer to bushland have a higher risk of intense bushfire attack and/or ember attack, requiring more water storage.
• Size of the builders and other assets to be protected – large buildings, or a large spread of buildings will require more water storage to protect them.
• Materials of the buildings and other assets to be defended – Buildings and structures built using combustible materials such as exposed timber will require more water storage to protect them.
• Preparedness of the property – lack of buffer zones between assets and trees/bush/long grass, will require more water storage to protect the property.
• Other forms of water storage on the property – some dams or large pools can be used as water reserves for bushfire fighting.

As a guide, some councils require a minimum of 10,000L water storage dedicated for bushfire fighting as a rule of thumb on a new small to medium house built in bushfire prone area. This capacity should be used as a guide only, and may not be sufficient for your property.
Its important to be aware that a standard 5.5hp petrol fire pump can use as much as 500L per minute depending on size, length and number of hoses in use. This means – again depending on the hose configuration – that is would be possible to use 10,000L of water in approximately just 20 minutes. If you plan on having several hoses or even several pumps in use for bushfire fighting, it is likely that 10,000L water storage will not be sufficient for you needs.

For specific advice regarding the right amount of water storage for your property, we would recommend contacting a fire consultant, or your local fire service. (RFS for NSW residents).              

How can I ensure there is always a set amount of tank water reserved for firefighting?

There are two common methods to achieve this, this first is to have a tank entirely dedicated to fire fighting. This tank should be connected so that it always remains full and is not used for other purposes.
The second method is to have a tank that is partly dedicated to fire fighting. This is achieved by installing an additional raised outlet on the tank. The raised outlet allows the property owner to used the tank capacity above the raised outlet for house or garden supply, but ensures the tank capacity below the raised outlet is reserved for firefighting. Please see the diagram below showing this configuration.

It is important to remember that on-site water storage is only one component of a bushfire survival plan. Be sure to visit the website of your local fire service for advice on a complete fire plan. For NSW residents, visit

Aquip offer a large range of tanks suitable for water storage for firefighting. Feel free to contact us on 1800 131 565 or for a quote today!