water supply

Sydney’s water supply could be at risk from a growing threat of more intense and frequent bushfires brought on by extended drought and climate change, experts say.

Hotter and drier conditions related to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could lead to exceptionally intense bushfires, the head of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute, John Merson, said last week.

They might threaten the ability of eucalypt forests in the mountains to recover, he told a climate change conference in Sydney. That could lead to erosion, silting of rivers and dams, and less water trickling through to aquifers in the catchment for Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

If we got into another bad bushfire year this year the ability of the forests to recover would be seriously compromised, Dr Merson said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Sep 2005