Currently there are more than 100 bushfires burning across New South Wales (NSW) in southeastern Australia, which have been fueled in part by high temperatures that have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of the state. On Friday, it was reported that authorities said one of their priorities was protecting water plants, pumping stations, pipes, and other infrastructure from these intense bushfires. Some of the fires are burning near the Warragamba Dam, which helps provide water to Sydney, the country’s largest city by population with over 5 million residents. Complicating matters, the dam is at about 45 percent capacity as a result of a prolonged drought. Noting that the “water supply is dropping at the fastest rate on record,” authorities in Sydney have implemented “severe water restrictions.” And given the numerous bushfires raging in the land surrounding Sydney’s major water catchment, there are concerns large quantities of ash and burnt material could pose a threat to the quality of water if there are heavy rains. However, there is no significant rain forecast for NSW in the short-term and authorities have deployed floating booms and curtains across the Warragamba catchment to serve as a barrier to block ash from filtering into the untreated part of the water supply. Additionally, water quality scientists are monitoring the dam using sophisticated, real-time technology. Water Minister Melinda Pavey said the NSW water agencies had been "working around the clock to ensure that our towns have access to water." She added, "Our assets across the state remain intact and are still supplying water to towns affected by these severe fires.” Read the articles at Reuters, The Sydney Morning Herald, and the BBC.