During the devastating bushfires of 2019-20, fire services across Australia fought tirelessly to protect communities, property and infrastructure. When the Currowan bushfire threatened our Shoalhaven Pumped Hydro Scheme in January 2020, both volunteer and government fire services were there to defend our infrastructure and neighbouring properties, and our team were able to assist by providing vital water to refill firefighting trucks.
Shoalhaven consists of two pumped storage hydropower stations at Bendeela and Kangaroo Valley. The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Fire and Rescue NSW attended both stations as the fire passed through the Bendeela station and then onto properties near the Kangaroo Valley station.
Che Roles, Origin’s Shoalhaven Station Manager said, “The work of the emergency services, both Fire and Rescue NSW and the Rural Fire Service (RFS), ensured Shoalhaven was protected. It was amazing to see how far the emergency service team members and vehicles had travelled from, we were seeing crews and vehicles from Sydney, Wollongong, Mittagong and Waterfall. Some of the firies were even down from Queensland.”
The RFS worked through the night, fighting the blaze and protecting properties near Kangaroo Valley station. To support the RFS, we set up a hose on one of the fire hydrants at Kangaroo Valley station, providing the RFS with unlimited access to water and a quick turnaround time. Two Shoalhaven team members were onsite throughout to help refill approximately 15 fire trucks, with each 3,500-litre refill taking about five minutes.
“We were aware that nearby properties were still at risk after the bushfire had passed Shoalhaven and driving back to the township to refill trucks would take time. Providing access to the Kangaroo Valley station infrastructure and water was the logical thing to do. It takes a whole community to fight these dangers and we were happy to help.”
We are working with the RFS to ensure we can provide access to our stations when required and so we can continue to support our community during bushfire season.