Screening our streams

Landholders in the Western region have a fantastic opportunity to participate in a project that will save native fish populations while simultaneously improving the quality of water delivered to their property.

The Screening our streams project provides up to $5,000 to support to landholders in the Western Local Land Services region for the installation of a fish-friendly screen on their pump intake.

Fish-friendly screens save farm businesses water, time and money, while also contributing to the health of the river system. Fish-friendly screens do not slow water delivery rates and along with native fish, larvae and eggs, the screens also stop any floating weeds or debris entering the pump.

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

About the Screening our Streams 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 per cent 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 Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers 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 Screening our Streams - Fish-friendly screen installation to protect native fish and improve water efficiency in the Western region project addresses these strategies by providing support to landholders to install fish-friendly diversion screens on pump intakes. The program aims to seek expressions of interest across river systems of the Western region

Successful fish-friendly screen trial site

In 2020, Western Local Land Services 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. Interest in the technology continues to gather momentum, with Western Local Land Services supporting landholders with assistance towards the cost of installation of screens through incentive funding programs over consecutive years. This funding program will continue to provide opportunity to landholders to get involved in the innovative technology.

What can I apply for?

Western Local Land Services will provide $5,000 plus GST, towards the supply and installation of a fish-friendly diversion screen. The first payment of 75% will be paid upon contract sign-off and confirmation of the order, with the remaining payment of 25% paid upon installation.

The total cost of installation will vary as each pump system requirements are different. You will need to research and determine the most suitable screen to fit your pump and system. This will include contacting the suppliers to provide pumping information to ascertain suitability. As interest continues to increase and industry experts are coming on board, the suppliers may refer you to a local irrigation business for installation.

The screen must comply with the following NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries minimum standards to help sustain native fish populations:

  • maximum 1-2 mm aperture mesh (see Fish Screens for more information)
  • approach velocity does not exceed 0.1 m/sec (8cm in front of the screen face) when pump is operated at maximum flow rate
  • able to spread velocity evenly across the screen face to avoid velocity hotspots
  • maximum 1-2 mm tolerance on gaps between moving parts
  • incorporates some form of cleaning mechanism, i.e. not reliant on river flow alone to clean the screen.

Applicant eligibility

The Screening our Streams program is available to:

  • individual landholders or organisations. Note that the applicant must be the water access licence holder, or have written permission from the water access licence holder to apply
  • individual landholders or organisations that are willing to pay for the remainder of the cost of the screen or screens for their pump system
  • properties located within Western Local Land Services region.

The program is not available to:

  • individual landholders or organisations with an outstanding monitoring activity or contract with Western Local Land Services or the former Catchment Management Authority
  • individual landholders or organisations with outstanding debt, including rates, owing to Local Land Services.

How to apply for a Screening our Streams grant

Expressions of Interest close by 5 pm Friday 28 July 2023, or when funding is fully allocated.

Interested landholders are required to complete the following application process:

1.To apply, you must complete the Screening our Streams 2022-23 Expression of Interest form.

2. Email your completed EOI to kaye.gottschutzke@lls.nsw.gov.au

3. Following the closure of expressions of interest, a Western Local Land Services officer will liaise with you to ensure suitability for your pump is confirmed prior to entering into a contract with Western Local Land Services.

Applications will be assessed against the criteria set in the program guidelines: ie evidence of compliance with NSW DPI Fisheries minimum standards; applicant eligibility; and agreement with the Conditions of Funding.

Please note: Applications will be assessed in order of receipt, therefore mailed applications may be disadvantaged as they will be lodged by the date received by Western Local Land Services.


This project is supported by Western Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government's Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program.

For further information on the program or for assistance with your application, please contact Kaye Gottschutzke on 0429 981 331.

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