Fish screens to pump up regional communities

8 Dec 2021

State-of-the-art irrigation screens will be installed along the Macquarie River as part of the NSW Government’s $200 million Regional Recovery Package delivering benefits for farmers and native fish alike.

Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Western NSW Adam Marshall announced the $13.5 million package in Dubbo today and said the projects would deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits for regional towns, particularly those in the Central West.

“This program of works will ensure 70 per cent of extracted water is screened, clean and fish friendly, saving more than 2 million native fish every year in the Macquarie River,” Mr Marshall said.

“Farmers will see significant benefits from using modern screens on their pumps, saving them water, time and money whilst also contributing to the health of the river system.

“We know Dubbo and surrounding communities have been hit hard by COVID. This funding will help these communities recover.”

The project will deliver fish-friendly irrigation pumps between Dubbo and the Macquarie Marshes, including at Narromine, Trangie and Warren.

Member for the Dubbo Electorate Dugald Saunders said the project will have a big impact across the entire region.

“It will create jobs in the Central West, with a strong focus on using local expertise, including businesses supplying components, transport, logistics and local crane and excavation crews,” Mr Saunders said.

“This project will help local water users reduce their operating costs, as the fine mesh and self-cleaning mechanisms of modern screens keep most debris out of irrigation lines and prevent damage to pumps, blocked sprinklers and clogged filters.”

Mr Marshall said the project will deliver large-scale, long-term benefits to native fish populations in the area including Murray Cod, Golden Perch, Silver Perch and Eel-tailed Catfish.

“After many years of drought and the devastating impact that had on our native fish populations, this work will help fast-track their recovery,” Mr Marshall said.

“More native fish and healthier rivers also means better recreational fishing, which generates significant economic activity and tourism, and supports hundreds of jobs in these communities.”

Construction on the project is expected to begin next year. For more information, visit www.fishscreens.org.au.

MEDIA: Luke O’Donnell | Minister Marshall | 0427 837 497