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Planning, Design and Construction of Fishways

SunWater has been recognised for our significant advances in fishway design.

Since early 1990 we have extensively tested, implemented and evaluated fishway design, in particular vertical slot and fish lock type fishways (view our portfolio online).

Our leadership in fishways is based on our commitment to building successful fish passages that create a 'fish friendly' environment. In particular, our design and construction focuses on factors that make a fishway operate efficiently, including:

  • Adequate attraction flow
  • Well-designed entrances
  • Hydraulic conditions within the fishway
  • Well placed exits, and
  • Target species behaviour and responses to particular hydraulic conditions.

We have developed considerable expertise in retrofitting fishways to existing structures and in particular, converting traditional pool and weir fishways to the more effective vertical slot type. 

Vertical slot fish ladders have been successfully incorporated into eight weirs and barrages in Queensland, with one operating successfully through a seven meter lift - the highest in Australia.

For higher structures (those that exceed the height of six meters), fish locks are generally better suited and to date we have constructed six fish locks. These fish lock designs are the result of extensive model testing and on-site monitoring and are proven to be effective for the passage of a broad range of fish species.

To find out more about the operational status of each of our fishways, please view our Fishway Operational Status report (PDF).