“A good plan to help Darling River fish recover exists, so let’s get on with it!”
Work under the Native Fish Strategy demonstrated that anywhere between 100 and 12,000fish can be abstracted, per day, by a single pump. When extrapolated over the many thousand irrigation pumps and diversion points across the basin, this means millions of fish are lost each year. They are either diverted into water distribution canals, or pumped onto crops and die.
This can be fixed by fitting pumps with off-the-shelf or custom-designed fish screens. Each pump that can be fitted with a screen in the Darling will translate to thousands of fish that will stay in the river. When conditions are right again, screening pumps will be a key to helping fish recover. Presently, no pumps on the Darling are fitted with screens for fish protection.