Fish-friendly Diversions Screens

We have provided support to landholders across the region to install fish-friendly diversion screens on their pump intake across several projects since the first program commenced in 2020.

fish friendly pump screen darling river
Figure 1: The 8-inch Riverscreen floating diversion screen operating at Porker Citrus on the Darling River at Ellerslie.

About the Fish-friendly Diversion Screens program

In Australia, millions of native fish, larvae and eggs are lost from natural water ways every year by being sucked into pumps. Since early European settlement, native fish populations are estimated to have decreased by 90% across the Murray-Darling Basin. Implementing diversion screening technology is one way a water diverter can ensure native fish populations are sustained while improving water quality delivered to their property.

The Fish-friendly Diversion Screens Program aligns with the Western Local Strategic Plan 2021-2026 strategy to support the efficient use of water resources, consistent with current best practices, technology and innovation.

The Fish-friendly Diversion Screens Program addresses these strategies by providing support to landholders to install fish-friendly diversion screens on pump intakes.

Successful fish-friendly screen trial site

In 2020, we engaged with Porker Citrus at Ellerslie in the Lower Darling River to install a fish-friendly screen on an irrigation pump as a trial site.Since installation, Porker Citrus have experienced improved efficiencies on their farm as they no longer need to shut down the pump to clean filters with a pressure washer every two hours during peak irrigation season.

Case studies

Several case studies have been developed to showcase the technology and benefits of fish-friendly diversion screens.

Fish friendly screen installation in the Darling River

Fish-friendly diversion screens field day in Western NSW

Duxton Vineyards

Founded in 2015, Duxton Vineyards is a venture administered by Duxton Capital (Australia) located in the Sunraysia region. There are four large-scale properties encompassing 2,465 hectares.

Duxton Vineyards were keen to pursue installation of fish-friendly diversion screens to further reinforce their commitment to environmental sustainability. The potential for the screens to reduce solids pressure within the vineyard primary and secondary filtration while helping the struggling native fish populations recover were driving factors for installation.

The pump system at Wentworth 3, Avoca has a 90 kw and a 55 kw motor and on a rail structure with two suction lines into one main line with a flow rate of 0.6 ML/hr and the capacity to pump a maximum 14.4 ML/day. A site visit with Australian manufacture AWMA determined that the 760 mm long x 465 mm diameter submersible screens would be suitable to suit the pump system.

Figure 2:  The self-cleaning AWMA submersible diversion screen during installation at Duxton Vineyards.

After a few teething problems with engineering during installation to make the underwater screens work with the existing rail structure, the screens have delivered great results in the high flow conditions of the Darling River.

This pump site will act as a trial for the organisation where they will gather on-property evidence of benefits through their standard monitoring programs and hope their initiative will encourage their peers to follow.

For further information on the program, please contact Kaye Gottschutzke on 0429 981 331 or

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