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Friendly water extraction project to keep more fish in our rivers

The Australian Government is providing $6.6 million to the Queensland Government to deliver a program of work that could see more young native fish survive in the northern Basin rivers.
Published: 15 December 2021

The Fish Friendly Water Extraction Project in the Condamine–Balonne and Border Rivers regions will see funds allocated to install pump screens at river off-takes, to help protect small and baby fish from being pumped out of rivers. Screens also assist in reducing maintenance of pumps and increase efficient watering. It is hoped that the initiative will provide a boost to local jobs through pump screen manufacturing and installation.

The Fish Friendly Water Extraction Project is one of 10 Northern Basin Toolkit projects that together keep 70 gigalitres (GL) of water in productive use while improving the health of our rivers and wetlands and the animals and plants that rely on them.

The project aims to involve the irrigation industry, local government, First Nations, recreational fishers and other relevant community groups.

The Northern Basin Toolkit

The Australian Government is working with the New South Wales and Queensland Governments to implement environmental works and measures identified in the Northern Basin Review.

This 4-year review was carried out by the MDBA and ended in 2016. It resulted in a 70 GL reduction to the 390 GL per year water recovery target in the north, on the basis that New South Wales and Queensland Governments adopt a range of measures with assistance from the Australian Government.

These projects are designed to complement environmental outcomes in the northern Basin. They support an additional 70 GL of water being kept in productive use and provide economic stimulus to local communities.

The 6 Northern Basin Toolkit measures are:

  1. arrangements to protect environmental flows
  2. targeted recovery of water
  3. event-based mechanisms
  4. improvements to the coordination and delivery of water for the environment
  5. environmental works and measures to promote fish movement and habitat
  6. removal of physical constraints in the Gwydir catchment to improve projects and activities.

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