Native fish and local irrigators to benefit from incentive program

Local irrigators along the Darling River from the Ellerslie settlement to the junction with the Murray River at Wentworth have a fantastic opportunity to participate in a project that will save the lives of native fish while improving water quality delivered to the property.

The Fish Friendly Screens in the Lower Darling River project, which is being coordinated by Western Local Land Services, provides funding support to irrigators for the installation of a fish friendly screen on their pump intake.

Millions of native fish, larvae and eggs are lost from natural water ways every year by being sucked into pumps. Since early European settlement, it is estimated native fish populations have decreased by 90 per cent across the Murray-Darling Basin.

By implementing a diversion screen at the pump intake, irrigators can ensure native fish populations are sustained while the screen will also stop any floating weed or debris entering the pump.

Fish friendly screens do not slow the rate in which water is pumped while the screens also protect the pump from clogging, thus minimising wear and tear.

Earlier this year, Western Local Land Services worked with Porker Citrus to install a fish friendly screen on an irrigation pump as a trial site, with the findings from this used in the planning for this project.

“The river is a beautiful environment and we all need to do a bit better to look after it,” Jim Porker said.

“These screens provide a way where we don’t remove anything from the river except the water we need. It helps us to use less water, be more efficient and more effective, saving us money while we help the environment.”

Interested landholders are asked to read the guidelines and conditions of the project prior to submitting an expression of interest.

EOIs must be submitted by Friday 25 September.

For further information contact Senior Land Services Officer, Kaye Gottschutzke on 0429 981 331 or email. This project is supported by Western Local Land Services, through Catchment Action NSW funding.

Media contact: Charlie Whiteley, Western Local Land Services, 0428 679 974.

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