Irrigation modernisation is booming globally because of the increasing demand on water and food. However, irrigation infrastructures can injure fish or entrain them into irrigation water. Screening is an effective method to mitigate fish entrainment. In this study, two autonomous sensor devices, developed and manufactured at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Sensor Fish and its miniaturised version, Sensor Fish Mini) were deployed to evaluate the physical and fish passage conditions of a unique horizontal, flat-plate fish and debris screen (known as the Farmers Screen) that was installed in Oregon, USA. Only 1 of the 27 Sensor Fish Mini releases had a severe acceleration event, whereas 0 of the 37 Sensor Fish releases had severe events. The rates of severe events and amplitudes of accelerations at the Farmers Screen were significantly lower than those at other hydraulic structures, including a fish-friendly surface weir that recorded nearly 100% fish survival. Overall, the results indicated that the Farmers Screens can provide safe downstream passage for fish at irrigation diversions. This study also demonstrated that the Sensor Fish technology, including Sensor Fish Mini, is a suitable technology for evaluating irrigation structures and providing important information for the development of sustainable irrigation.
Funding Source: US Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office