Research making irrigation more fish friendly

An Australian-first research project on the Namoi River is trialling the use of screen technology to help make irrigation more fish friendly towards native fish.

Research conducted by Industry & Investment NSW found that up to 200 fish a day can potentially be extracted from the river through one irrigation pump and the number of fish lost through other water diverting methods could be even larger. This obviously has a major impact on the health of native fish species across the Murray-Darling Basin.

Early trials of the stainless steel screens have been promising with part of the research focused on what size mesh and surface area of screen would work best protect the fish without affecting the operation of the pumps.

Given there are relatively few rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin that are free from water extraction, with significant amounts of water diverted from rivers to service the irrigation industry this can have a significant impact on the waterways.

A field day will be held in Narrabri on Wednesday March 31 to demonstrate the screen technology in action and showcase the progress of the project.

Posted 23 March 2010