New South Wales irrigators' attitudes towards irrigation pump fish screening

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


Self-cleaning irrigation pump fish-screening solutions can protect fish populations and deliver operational benefits to irrigators. The uptake of fish-screening, however, is mixed and there is limited evidence concerning irrigator attitudes towards fish-screening. This study addressed this knowledge gap through in-depth interviews with NSW irrigators. These interviews considered irrigator: 1. fish-screen awareness levels; 2. experiences with pump screening and debris and fish entrainment/entrapment; 3. attitudes towards the benefits from fishscreening; and 4. knowledge gaps and preferences for additional communications materials. Most interviewees acknowledged the significance of native fish protection and highlighted the importance of working collectively with government/conservation agencies. The majority of interviewees had at least some prior knowledge of fish screening options and government initiatives. The use of various forms of screens was common to keep debris out of pumps. Many of these existing screens, however, might not be considered “fish friendly”. The response was mixed in terms of whether the installation of fish-screen would be financially viable and if doing so would protect native fish. Some interviewees challenged the claims of fish-screening advocates of significant fish loss through pumps and asserted that they hadn’t observed any fish loss and, if they had, it was “usually carp”. Whilst some have concerns/questions about cost-effectiveness, the main potential operational fish-screening benefits identified by irrigators related to preventing debris blockages in pumps/drippers/sprinklers. Almost all irrigators were keen to receive additional information about fish-screens (i.e. fish floss stats, screen options, cost-benefits, overseas case studies) through a range of channels (i.e. website, site demonstrations, screening workshops/meetings).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2020
EventResearch for a Changing World: ILWS Online Conference 2020 - Online
Duration: 26 Nov 202027 Nov 2020 (program and abstracts)


ConferenceResearch for a Changing World
OtherThe Institute’s first-ever on-line conference has been hailed as a “resounding success.” The free conference, which was held November 26 and 27, 2020, was an opportunity for members to share the results and conclusions from recent projects
and activities and to showcase the work of our strong research teams.

The presentations represented all categories of Institute membership – Full Member, Associate Member, Adjunct and Student. There were also two presentations by undergraduate students associated with the Institute.

The Conference is free and open to everyone.

The program reflects the multi and trans-disciplinary research ethos of ILWS.
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  • RM102709


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