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Burrendong temperature control structure

Burrendong temperature control structure

About the project

  • CWP intake tower diagramLocated at Burrendong Dam, near Wellington in NSW
  • Installation of the curtain was completed 2014
  • The curtain is a trial of new technology to address cold water pollution
  • Heavy rainfall and the subsequent release of significant volumes of water through the curtain contributed to it malfunctioning in 2016.
  • The curtain has been reinstalled following repairs and extensive work to engineer a revised design.


Cold water pollution can occur when cold water from the bottom of a dam is released into the river. This can have a negative impact on native fish species. WaterNSW is working to mitigate the effects of cold water pollution as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impacts of operations.

The project involved 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 to function regardless of the water level of the dam.

Anticipated benefits

The curtain is designed to reduce the effects of cold water being released downstream on native fish species in the Macquarie River. The temperature control curtain is designed to release warm water from the surface of the dam to allow the water downstream to be in a range more habitable for native fish. By restoring temperatures in the river the project is set to improve the ecology of the river which is temperature dependent.


Heavy rainfall and the subsequent release of significant volumes of water from the storage through the curtain over many weeks contributed to the curtain malfunctioning in November 2016.

Our engineers conducted analysis of the issues and have worked to redesign the curtain to improve reliability. The use of in-house analysis and expertise helped minimise costs.New guidewire connections and rollers have been manufactured and installed to improve the reliability of the curtain.The redesign process demonstrates the capability of our  engineering expertise and local businesses engaged to manufacture the new connections and rollers.

The curtain was reinstalled in mid-2018. The re-installation represents a continuation of the trial of this world-first technology.

Ongoing monitoring

Instrumentation has been installed to monitor the performance of the new curtain design. We will recommence monitoring and testing of the curtain once it has been commissioned. Existing temperature loggers from Wellington to Warren will provide data at half hour intervals to monitor the surface water temperatures further downstream of the dam

The start of the irrigation season in Spring 2018 will represent the first major trial for the revised curtain.

Information sheet

Project photos

Project video

Media releases



Phone: 1300 662 077 or email.

Tuesday 21 August
1,690,587 ML
2,581,850 ML
11,525 ML
1,647 ML
-13,229 ML
Tuesday 21 August