The fishlift operates by moving water near the entrance (attracting fish to the chamber), guiding fish from the chamber into a metal hopper (which is winched over the dam wall and lowered into the lake on the other side), with the fish then released from the hopper to migrate upstream.

The award was presented at the AWA New South Wales awards in May 2010. The award recognises outstanding projects which demonstrate innovative delivery of water sector infrastructure. Winning this state award has automatically entered SMEC into the AWA’s national award.