Mitigation for pumping station intakes

Description of measure

Structures can be installed to protect migratory and resident fish from entrainment where water is extracted from fish-bearing waters. This includes pumping intakes which abstract volumes of water from rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries for a range of purposes (e.g. water supply, hydropower, cooling etc). The measure is primarily concerned with integrating or retrofitting fish screens into pumping intake design.


Fish screens can be applied to a range of intake designs in watercourses where there is a risk of fish entrainment. Fish screens are typically installed to protect species of fishes that would otherwise be harmed when passing through industrial facilities such as hydroelectric generators, petroleum refineries, chemical plants and municipal drinking water treatment plants. Certain fish screens are designed to protect a single species of fish (for example, salmon) and are not necessarily effective at protecting other fish species. Fish screens with a fine mesh size can be prone to clogging, blockage and bio-fouling and may require additional maintenance.

Benefits for Water Framework Directive

The free passage of migratory fish is a key requirement of the Water Framework Directive, and is being used as an indicator for assessing whether water bodies are meeting Good Ecological Potential or Status. Initial assessments suggest that many waters throughout the UK are at risk of failing to achieve Good Ecological Potential as a result of barriers to fish migration. Well designed tidal outfalls can help deliver objectives of the WFD, by:

  • Ensuring that fish can move freely between the river and coastal waters in order to access breeding, nursery of feeding grounds by preventing entrainment of fish.

As well as preventing fish kills, fish screens can also provide protection to the pumping station by preventing large volumes of dead fish from entering the intake and causing damage.  They can be designed to require a low level of maintenance and can be installed in a variety of locations (in channel, beneath the bed, bypass channel etc).

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