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Published: 13 June 2018   •   Media release

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and Victorian Government have developed an online tool which allows allocation trades subject to the Barmah Choke trade restriction to be automatically processed. 

Trades subject to the Barmah Choke restriction which are submitted online through the Victorian Water Register will now be processed instantaneously.  Barmah Choke trades in Victoria had been referred for manual processing since 28 October 2014, when the trading rule that restricts allocation trade from upstream of the Choke to downstream was reinstated by the MDBA.

MDBA acting head of Compliance, Brent Williams, said the new system eliminated inconsistencies between states, as both New South Wales and Victoria will now process trades on receipt. 

"This new online tool means that Victorian water users have the same opportunity as New South Wales water users to request trades across the Barmah Choke as long as there are no other restrictions on trade," Mr Williams said.

"This facility also allows real time updating of Barmah Choke trade opportunity when water is traded from downstream to upstream of the Choke in Victoria.  These improvements mean that people looking to trade water across the Choke will have more accurate information to support their decision."

The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Deputy Secretary, Water & Catchments, Helen Vaughan, said this was a great demonstration of a solutions based approach by the Basin states.

"The Basin Plan's water trading rules are founded on the need for transparency and fair access to information, and this change further supports these values," Ms Vaughan said.

The Barmah Choke is a narrow stretch on the River Murray which is a challenge for river managers because it limits the delivery of irrigation water during periods of peak demand, generally in spring and summer.

To protect the delivery of water downstream, trade from above the Choke to below is restricted. People upstream of the Choke can only sell water to buyers downstream if the same or greater volume of water has been transferred from downstream to upstream first.

The MBDA is responsible for keeping track of the balance of trade. More information on the Choke can be found here.

These changes are now live on the Victorian Water Register.


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