Weeding out a big problem: pump screens save fish while reducing choking weeds

Weeding out a big problem: pump screens save fish while reducing choking weeds

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

Amy Russell from the North Central CMA explains that:

It is estimated that 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.  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 currently 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 of more an insight to what is actually happening to pumps without screens.  The North Central CMA 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.

A self cleaning rotating pump screen is one of many different types of screening solutions available to keep debris and fish in the river.


We know it’s a problem, and we want people to tell us how big a problem it is.  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, and if you would like to be a part of the project and have any information that would be useful you can send it through to:

Email: amy.russell@nccma.vic.gov.au

Phone 03 5448 7124.







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Siwan Lovett

Siwan Lovett

Siwan manages the Finterest website and enjoys sharing stories about the latest research and on-ground projects to bring back native fish. She also manages the Rivers of Carbon (www.riversofcarbon.org.au) program that restores riparian zones in the Southern Tablelands of NSW to create habitat for native fish. She is editor of the popular RipRap Magazine that also shares fishy stories.
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