Choke impacts trade

July 04, 2017

Restrictions on water trade from above the Barmah Choke will continue.

Trading of water from above the Barmah Choke on the Murray River to below the choke will continue to be restricted in the 2017-18 water year.

This means water users upstream of the choke can sell water allocations to buyers downstream of the choke, but only if water has been traded from downstream to upstream of the choke first.

Murray-Darling Basin Authority river management executive director David Dreverman said the continued restriction was necessary to ensure effective operation of the river and delivery of water to entitlement holders through the choke.

‘‘We need to prevent water trades from placing excessive demands on the channel capacity at the choke in the coming year, given primary storages that supply water to the system, Hume and Dartmouth, are upstream of the choke,’’ Mr Dreverman said.

Under the original Murray-Darling Basin Agreement, agreed to by basin governments, the MDBA may, in exceptional circumstances, relax the default Barmah Choke trade restriction.

Exceptional circumstances that might allow the lifting of the restriction can include drought conditions when total flows are unlikely to impact channel capacity limitations, such as occurred during the millennium drought.

‘‘With large volumes of water currently in storage, system demands in 2017-18 are unlikely to be low enough even under very dry conditions to permit the lifting of the restriction,’’ Mr Dreverman said.

He reminded water users that the volume that could be traded through the choke was re-set on July 1.

An annual adjustment will be made to take account of water savings transferred to the Snowy scheme, resulting in an opening balance close to 37000Ml.

More information on the Barmah Choke and the balance available to be traded at any time can be found at: www.mdba.gov.au/managing-water/water-markets-trade/barmah-choke-trade-restriction

Water market participants should contact their state trading authority for more information. Trade from downstream of the choke to upstream is not restricted.

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