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Published: 27 June 2017   •   Media release

Trading of water from above the Barmah Choke 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.

MDBA River Management Executive Director, David Dreverman, said the continued restriction is 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 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.

"Water users are reminded that the volume that can be traded through the choke will be reset on 1 July 2017."

An annual adjustment will be made to take account of water savings transferred to the Snowy scheme, resulting in an opening balance close to 37,000 megalitres.

More information on the Barmah Choke and the balance available to be traded at any time can be found here

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


For more information, contact the MDBA Media office at or 02 6279 0141

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