Barmah Choke trade restriction to continue

17 June 2016

Trading water from above the Barmah Choke to below the choke will continue to be restricted into the 2016-17 water year.

This means people upstream of the choke can sell water to buyers downstream of the choke, but only if the same or greater net volume of water has been traded from downstream to upstream of the choke first.

MDBA River Management Executive Director David Dreverman said it was necessary to continue this arrangement to ensure effective operation of the river and the delivery of water through the choke to existing entitlement holders.

"This decision is based on assessments of current and potential water resource and operational conditions," Mr Dreverman said.

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

"In determining whether the trade restriction could be relaxed, the MDBA regularly considers the system outlook and assesses factors such as demand downstream of the choke, potential future inflows and the availability of water in the Menindee Lakes."

Mr Dreverman said exceptional circumstances that would lift the restriction may include an extreme dry scenario when total flows are unlikely to impact channel capacity limitations. A wet scenario might also see a relaxation, particularly if large inflows into Menindee Lakes occur which can be used to meet downstream River Murray System demands.

"Water users are reminded that the volume that can be traded through the choke will be reset on 1 July 2016. An annual adjustment will also be made to take account of water savings transferred to the Snowy scheme, resulting in an opening balance close to 26,000 megalitres. This will be the initial volume available to be traded from above to below the Barmah Choke."

The MDBA will continue to monitor whether the trade restriction is required and will advise water users when conditions are such that the restriction can be relaxed.

The current trade balance for the choke can be found at MDBA website.

Trade applications will continue to be processed by basin states. In the first instance, water market participants should contact their state trading authority for more information.

ENDS

For more information, contact the MDBA Media office at media@mdba.gov.au or 02 6279 0141.