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Heatwaves

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Heatwaves are expected to feature more prominently in the Australian landscape over coming years.

While there is no internationally recognised definition for heatwaves, in Victoria a heatwave is declared when the combined maximum temperature and minimum temperature over two days is in excess of 30 centigrade when divided by two (see information below).

Exposure to excessively hot and uncomfortable weather can cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even death.

Anyone can be affected by heat - particularly the very young, elderly and those with existing medical conditions.

It can also affect infrastructure, with the possibility of electricity power outages for example.

It is important to keep cool and hydrated. That means drinking plenty of water regularly.

If your doctor usually restricts your fluid intake, ask for advice about what to do in very hot weather.

The lead agency for Heatwave in Victoria is the Department of Health and Human Services. For more information on Heatwave Management visit the DHHS website.

Calculating the average temperature

The average temperature is calculated from the forecast daily maximum (in this case Tuesday) and the forecast overnight temperature, which is the daily minimum for the following day (in this case Wednesday).

An example of this calculation is demonstrated below.

Tuesday
Min: 20°C
Max: 38°C

Wednesday
Min: 25°C
Max: 31°C

Average calculation for Tuesday
(38 + 25) / 2 = 31.5°C

The threshold for Southern Victoria = average of 30°C. The temperature forecast indicates that the threshold will be exceeded.

This calculation will be repeated for each of the seven days included in the daily forecast.

Impact on water supplies

For water corporations a heatwave poses at least two risks: an increased in water consumption and a possibility that if infrastructure such as power lines fail, it may not be possible to treat water to a safe standard.

What Gippsland Water does to prepare

All of our water treatment plants have generator points fitted to allow for the use of generator power if mains power fails.

In the lead up to a heat wave Gippsland Water will ensure storages are kept full to allow for ongoing supply via the gravity system.

We will communicate with customers about excess demand on smaller systems and the need to conserve water.

What you can do

  • Maintain personal hydration through the day.
  • Be aware of your water use and conserve water via the use of reduced flow showerheads and tap fittings.
  • Plant drought tolerant plants in your garden that need less water.
  • If watering your garden, do so with a trigger nozzle fitted to your hose or use tank water.
  • Water your garden late at night (after 9pm) to avoid the evening peak of consumption.
  • Report leaks and main breaks to Gippsland Water on 1800 057 057.
  • Keep three days water supply in bottles at home (fill up from your household tap and store the water), the Red Cross suggests an adult requires three litres of water per day.

More information

Understanding heatwave: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/environment/heatwaves.htm


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Gippsland Water supplies fresh clean drinking water to more than 70,000 customers, and wastewater services to more than 63,000 customers across an area of more than 5,000 square kilometres. It maintains a $1 billion infrastructure network, which includes more than 2,000 kilometres of water mains, 15 water treatment plants, over 1,700 kilometres of sewer mains and 14 wastewater treatment plants.

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Gippsland Water Head Office, 55 Hazelwood Road, Traralgon, VIC, 3844

Phone: 1800 050 500
Fax: (03) 5174 0103
Interpreter service: 131 450
TTY: 1800 555 677
Email: contactus@gippswater.com.au

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