Rural Fire Service aerial activities in the Armidale region will now be able to access water from a newly established bore at Armidale Regional Airport, removing the potential need to source water from town water supplies.

The bore came on line this week, as part of test drilling to locate possible aquifers in an around Armidale and Guyra to supplement the town water supplies. Its activation came as water supplies in a regional airport dam were exhausted by weeks of aerial firefighting to control bush fires throughout the region.

Armidale Regional Council Mayor, Simon Murray, inspected the bore site in early December with NSW Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, and the Rural Fire Service New England District Manager, Superintendent Steve Mepham.

Mr Murray said the Rural Fire Service and its volunteers have done an incredible job protecting people and property in the Armidale region and northern NSW.

“Aerial firefighting played a vital role in those efforts. Dedicating this bore to firefighting will enable those aerial strategies to continue, without having to tap into our precious remaining town supplies.”

The 114m deep bore has been fitted with a pump that can extract water at 18,000L per hour.

The bore can operate for a maximum of 16 hours per day, providing up 288,000L during that time.

“That ensures there will be enough to fill the RFS tank at the airport, which has a capacity of 172,000L,” Mr Murray said.

“We knew from previous drilling that the site would provide sufficient water, so it was a good option to provide a quick source of fight fighting water once it became evident the dam they were using could run dry.

“Unfortunately, the arrival of equipment for the bore was delayed by road closures because of the bushfires. However, we’ve still been able to keep the water supply up for RFS activities.

“There has been great cooperation between the Council and the RFS, with regular support from our State Member Adam Marshall.”