The Burrendong Dam Temperature Control Structure Project, completed in July 2014, has recently seen enormous positive results with a growth in fish numbers in the Macquarie River. The project aimed to reduce the impact of cold water pollution on native fish species.  Cold water pollution can occur when cold water from the bottom of the dam is released into the river. State Water Corporation funded the project as part of its work to mitigate the effects of cold water pollution.

Burrendong Dam temperature control curtain. Photo credit: Fishing World

The project involved the construction of a floating-curtain temperature control structure around the intake tower at Burrendong Dam. The flexible structure sits just below the water level to allow warmer surface water to be released downstream through the outlet valve. The curtain can move up and down with the water level via a chain and pulley mechanism, which allows it function regardless of the water level of the dam. The following video explains how the Temperature Control Curtain operates.

This project, costing over 3 million dollars has been successful, with the Inland Waterways Rejuvenation Association (IWRA) reporting increased size and activity among the fish in the Macquarie River. Not only has this improved conditions for recreational fishing and increaseed the native fish population, it has also improved general river health.
Thanks to the Temperature Curtain Project, “A number of things are falling into place for the Macquarie River” (Matt Hansen, IWRA). This initiative has had, and will continue to have positive effects for the river and the surrounding ecosystem.

Article adapted from State Water Corporation Project Page and Daily Liberal Article. Main photo and video from State Water Corporation.

2 March 2021: Updated link to WaterNSW Project Page (State Water Corporation was merged into WaterNSW in 2015)