Pump screens may be the fix

July 31, 2017

THE North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) wants to hear from district irrigators about the impacts of both weeds and fish being sucked through their pumps.

NCCMA acting project manager Amy Russell estimated tens of thousands of fish could be lost to irrigation pumps across Victoria each year.

‘‘I have also heard from irrigators who are getting up several times during the night to remove weeds from their pumps,’’ she said.

‘‘The great news is there is a solution to this problem and it’s being made here locally. The solution is pump screens, which are being used around the world.

‘‘The potential for this solution to save irrigators time and money, as well as improving native fish populations is really exciting.’’

Cohuna company AWMA Water Control Solutions has developed a product to help with the problem.

‘‘We know the pump screens work and we want to work with local irrigators to gain a bit more of an insight to what is actually happening to pumps without screens,’’ Ms Russell said.

‘‘The NCCMA is achieving fantastic results with our flows designed to increase numbers of native fish, but there are still a number of issues to do with fish passage that need to be addressed.

‘‘One of these is that fish are being caught up in irrigation pumps.’’

Ms Russell said she wanted to hear stories from local irrigators about weed build up and fish being caught in pumps.

‘‘We know it’s a problem and we want people to tell us how big a problem it is,” she said.

‘‘I am hoping the local community can help me out by sending through any photos, stories or evidence on the impact of the pumps in the Gunbower Creek and Little Murray River.

‘‘This sort of infrastructure is a Victorian first.’’

Anyone interested in being a part of the project or have information, email it to [email protected] or phone 54487124.

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