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Published: 03 May 2022

The Barmah Choke water trade balance to start the 2022–23 irrigation year will be the highest since trade restrictions through the choke came into force in 2014.

The MDBA acting Executive Director of River Management, Dr Andrew Kremor, said the water available to trade downstream of the Barmah Choke on 1 July 2022 would be about 40.6 gigalitres.

"Each year we make this information available ahead of the new season to allow water users to make plans," Dr Kremor said.

"The Barmah Choke is a naturally narrow stretch of the River Murray that runs through the Barmah-Millewa Forest near Echuca. A restriction on the trade of water through the Choke has been active since 2014 to protect water delivery to existing entitlement holders and to maintain the river environment in the Choke.

"While trading water from downstream to upstream of the Choke is always open, trades from upstream to downstream can only happen if the same or greater amount has first gone the other way – this is the 'balance' of trade.

"River managers will continue to assess the balance of trade through the choke in planning for the year ahead, by considering factors like storage levels, expected demand, state allocations, and climate forecasts."

Information on trade opportunities and applications to trade are provided by the relevant Basin state trade approval authorities. Water market participants should consider the closing times and opening times of Basin state water registers for the 2021–22 and the 2022–23 water years respectively, when determining their trade activity.

There are no plans to relax the restriction on trade across the Choke in 2022–23.

The rules of trade are governed by the Murray–Darling Basin Agreement between the Commonwealth and the Basin state governments.

For more information on how the opening balance of the Barmah Choke is calculated, see the MDBA website.

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