Curtain issue to again affect native breeding

IN DANGER: Spring breeding for large Murray Cod, like this 115cm model caught by Wayne Gilbert, has been compromised by the thermal curtains failure.

IN DANGER: Spring breeding for large Murray Cod, like this 115cm model caught by Wayne Gilbert, has been compromised by the thermal curtains failure.

Native fish living in the 160 kilometre stretch of Macquarie River that is affected by cold water pollution from Burrendong Dam are again set to have minimal success breeding this spring, with the $3.4 million dollar thermal pollution curtain still off line, and back at the manufacturers for assessment and repairs.

The Murray Cod breeding season is triggered in spring when the Macquarie River’s temperatures rises to 16 to 20 degrees, however the 2016 breeding season was severely compromised when the curtain’s failure saw river temperatures crash from 22.4 degrees to a freezing 13 degrees Celsius in just a two-week period. 

Dubbo Catches received comment from a NSW Water spokesperson who stated repair options are already being looked at and discussed.

The Burrendong temperature control curtain is not currently operational due to some key component failures which occurred during the major storage inflows in mid-2016. - Water NSW spokesperson

“The Burrendong temperature control curtain is not currently operational due to some key component failures which occurred during the major storage inflows in mid-2016,” the spokesperson said.

“Water NSW is assessing possible repair options and whether any design factors contributed to the curtain’s structural damage.”

At a cost of $3.4 million dollars to install, the curtain seemed to be working well at the start of the native fish breeding season in 2016, however almost a year after malfunctioning it remains off line.

That means that freezing releases known as thermal pollution, is set to pour down the river again this spring. 

“The curtain has been removed from the intake tower and shipped to the manufacturer as part of the repair assessment process,” the spokesperson said.

DAMAGE: The curtain in question.

DAMAGE: The curtain in question.

“The aim is to finalise investigative works and restore the curtain to operation by year’s end.  This objective is subject to the outcome of the investigative works, including the magnitude of any required design modifications, as well as the dam’s operational requirements.”

“Any repair work will need to factor in the dam’s current high storage levels and the difficulties with access and visibility associated with working in deep water.”

Submit a story/photo: 

Dubbo Catches invites all readers and keen fishers in the central west and beyond to submit their stories and photos for possible publication to: matt@reddenhansen.com.au.

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