Dights Falls fishway upgrade


We have almost completed the upgrade works to Dights Falls fishway. Aqua Metro Services, on behalf of Melbourne Water, began works in March 2019, and we anticipate that final completion including revegetation will be in late 2019.

We regularly review the function of weirs and fishways. Dights Falls weir was built in 1895 and today plays an important role in controlling water levels in the Yarra River – pooling water for approximately 17 kilometres upstream and protecting important social, economic and environmental values of the river. In 2012 Dights Falls weir underwent an upgrade to improve the weir structure and additionally construct a fishway, to help support Victoria’s native fish migration. After the review of the function of Dights Falls it was identified, to further improve the efficiency of the Dights Falls fishway, a secondary entry point is required. 

Why is the work happening?

Studies have found that Victoria’s native fish are more sensitive to high flows in a river or stream. During high flows the water can be too turbulent for the fish to swim upstream. In order to help support the native fish populations in Yarra River, the upgrade will provide a new second entry that provides a less turbulent access point.

The majority of Victoria’s native freshwater and coastal fish species need to undertake some form of migration during their lifecycle. Fish passage upstream is critical in supporting many of these Australian native fish species as it allows:

  • Adult fish to move to and from spawning habitats
  • Juvenile fish to disperse to new habitats
  • Access to feeding grounds
  • Re-colonisation of new habitats
  • Exploratory movements and habitat selection, 
  • Access to and from refuge areas during droughts or floods.

What is a fishway?

Fishways (or fish ladders) are simple structures that are commonly used in Victoria to allow fish to pass man-made structures such as weirs, dams, floodgates and roads. 

The upgrade to Dights Falls fishway will increase the number of native fish using the fishway and ensure during high flows in the Yarra River the fish can still migrate. 

We anticipate these works will take up to four months to complete. We are working in partnership with City of Yarra and Wurundjeri to undertake this upgrade.

Dights Falls Fishway map - May 2019

October update

While primary works were completed in August of 2019, due to unusually high water flows through the Yarra River final completion of the Dight Falls fishway including the site restoration has been delayed to ensure site safety.

Safety for our people, assets and community is of the greatest importance to Melbourne Water.

Completion of the upgrade including restoration of the site will be completed in the coming months when it is assessed as safe to do so, after which Dight Falls will be reopened to the public. We thank you for your patience and will return Dight Falls to public access as soon as it is safe to.

Melbourne Water will be withdrawing from the site and returning when it is safe to complete the Fishway upgrade and restore the site to its previous state before works started.  There will be no immediate impact on residents, pedestrians or cyclists who will continue to be able to use nearby paths without any disruptions however the Dight Falls site will continue to be closed the public until final completion for the safety of the community.

More information

Community bulletins

Contact us

For more information about this project or our other activities please call Melbourne Water on 1800 560 622 

Last updated:
9 October 2019