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Published: 04 September 2019   •   Media release

Options to manage the delivery of water traded from the Murray's tributaries will be a focus of Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) river operators in conjunction with state partners in the next six months.

MDBA Acting Executive Director of River Management Angus Paton said the MDBA was working with the New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian state governments to investigate opportunities to revise delivery arrangements for this year.

"The aim is to help to look after the river environment in the lower Goulburn while accommodating the delivery of traded irrigation water this summer," Mr Paton said.

"The MDBA operates the River Murray on behalf of the state and Commonwealth governments, and we encourage all steps to address the hard trade issues that affect the efficient delivery of water to entitlement holders throughout the system.

"In particular, trading opportunities from the major tributaries that enter the Murray downstream of the Barmah Choke are continuing to drive the downstream demand for water.

"While the delivery of water traded to the Murray is critically important for meeting these demands efficiently, the MDBA continues to work collaboratively to ensure flow rates are managed and adjusted whenever possible to reduce pressure on the lower Goulburn. 

"For example, a recent change in the trade balance between the Murrumbidgee River and the Murray River is seeing more water being bought out of the Murrumbidgee by purchasers in the Murray.  The maximum volume of 100 gigalitres allowed by the NSW government is currently available in the Murrumbidgee account after a couple of years when no water was available. This change in circumstances will be reflected in the MDBA's spring update to the Annual Operating Outlook.

"The increased obligation to deliver traded water from the Murrumbidgee may reduce potential flow rates in other parts of the system, including the lower Goulburn River where trade delivered into the Murray reached record levels in 2018-19."

Mr Paton said greater flexibility to manage the timing and volume of deliveries had the potential to mitigate impacts on the lower Goulburn river channel during the peak irrigation season.

"At all times the MDBA delivers water in the most efficient way possible to maximise water availability to entitlement holders," said Mr Paton.

"It is important that state and Commonwealth agencies continue to collaborate on emerging trade issues within the context of Murray–Darling Basin Plan trade rules.

"The MDBA is committed to accountability and transparency of our work. Water users are advised to subscribe to the River Murray Weekly Report for information on inter-valley trade deliveries, and the River Murray System Annual Operations Outlook update will be published on the MDBA website in October."

Water users in NSW are advised to consult the WaterNSW website for information on trading opportunities between the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers.

Water users in Victoria are advised to consult the Victorian Water Register for information on trading opportunities between the Murray and Goulburn rivers.


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