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Barmah Choke trade balance and restriction

Barmah Choke trade

How much can I trade? 0.075 ML*

*The balance shown is the volume of water permitted to be traded from above to below the Choke as of 04:26 am 30 Oct 2020. If the balance is negative, the capacity will be shown as zero opportunity to trade.

The balance is updated whenever the MDBA is consulted regarding a trade across the Choke. Trade applications should continue to be submitted to Basin states.

For more information regarding the Barmah Choke balance please email watermarkets@mdba.gov.au.

  • The Barmah Choke is a narrow section of the Murray River that runs through the Barmah–Millewa Forest.
  • The Choke has a trade restriction to protect delivery to existing entitlement holders and to maintain the river environment in the Choke.
  • When water goes through the forest most of it makes its way back into the river again downstream of the Choke.

The Barmah Choke is a naturally occurring narrow stretch of the River Murray that begins downstream of Cobram, Victoria and ends upstream of Echuca, Victoria. The Choke runs through the Barmah–Millewa Forest on the Victorian/NSW border.

The Choke restricts the flow of the River Murray to just around 7,000 ML per day. This is the lowest flow in any stretch of the River Murray. It presents a challenge for river management, primarily because it limits the delivery of irrigation water during periods of peak demand, generally in spring and summer.

A default trade restriction is in place at the Choke, this is necessary to protect water delivery to existing entitlement holders and for environmental reasons. The restriction means that trade downstream of the Choke may only occur when there is sufficient matching trade capacity available in the opposite direction which is called ‘back trade’.  Factors that influence the restriction include water availability and allocations, and high demand due to climatic conditions. More information on these factors is available in the River Murray annual operating plan. The restriction is governed by Schedule D of the Murray–Darling Basin Agreement through the Permissible Transfers between Trading Zones (Permissible Transfers) Protocol. We are responsible for keeping track of the balance of trade when the restriction activity is in place.

Trade from above the Barmah Choke to below the Choke is restricted to protect delivery of water downstream. This means people upstream of the Choke can sell water to buyers downstream of the Choke, but only if the same or greater volume of water has been transferred from downstream to upstream of the Choke first. We will continue to monitor the situation and will lift or adjust the restriction if conditions permit.

More detailed information on this physical flow constraint is available in the Barmah Choke fact sheet.

Background

Consistent with normal operations, on July 1 2019 (at the start of the new water year), the balance available for trading from above to below the Choke will be cleared. This annual adjustment takes into account water savings transferred to the Snowy scheme, resulting in an opening balance of around 25 GL. This is the initial volume available to be traded from above to below the Barmah Choke. This opening balance was announced on 24 May 2019.
More background information about the Snowy adjustment scheme can be found on the NSW Department of Industry website.
From 1 July 2019, the balance will be:

  • increased by allocation trades from below to above the Choke
  • increased by any deliveries against tags established from below to above the Choke
  • decreased by allocation trades from above to below the Choke.

Further information about this legislative requirement can be found in the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement (Schedule D - Permissible Transfers between Trading Zones) Protocol 2010.Click here for further information on the calculation of the Choke opening balance.

Through the millennium drought, the trade restriction was relaxed and trade occurred freely from above to below the Barmah Choke. On Tuesday, 28 October 2014, trade from above the Barmah Choke reverted to the default position and the restriction was actively applied.

Barmah Choke End of day Balance chart

End of Day transactions summary

Date Down to Up
(ML)
Up to Down
(ML)
Usage (ML) Usage Reversal (ML) Admin Adjustment (ML) Rejection (ML) Balance (ML)
29-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
28-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
27-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
26-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
25-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
24-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
23-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
22-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
21-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
20-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
19-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
18-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.075
17-10-2020 0 43.9 43.749 0 0 43.9 0.075
16-10-2020 0 5.8 5.861 0 0 10.8 0.226
15-10-2020 0 45.6 45.7 0 0 45.6 0.165
14-10-2020 0 18.3 18.234 0 0 18.2 0.065
13-10-2020 0 11.6 11.146 0 0 0 0.131
12-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.585
11-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.585
10-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.585
09-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.585
08-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.585
07-10-2020 0 38 38.392 0 0 76 0.585
06-10-2020 0 0 14.348 14.348 0 13.5 0.193
05-10-2020 0 19.8 19.829 0 0 10 0.193
04-10-2020 0 196.8 196.879 0 0 315.9 0.164
03-10-2020 0 18.1 18.062 0 0 35.3 0.085
02-10-2020 0 20.3 20.18 0 0 19.4 0.123
01-10-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.243
30-09-2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.243

Download historical data


Column header descriptions:

Down to Up: The volume traded from below to above the Barmah Choke. These trades are not restricted by the Barmah Choke trade rule and increase the Barmah Choke trade balance.

Up to Down:  The volume traded from above to below the Barmah Choke. These trades can only be approved if sufficient capacity exists. Approved trades decrease the Barmah Choke trade balance.

Usage: The volume of water ordered against entitlements tagged from below to above the Barmah Choke. This usage is not restricted by the Barmah Choke trade rule and increases the Barmah Choke trade balance. Usage is also referred to as delivery of water under a tagged entitlement.

Usage Reversal: Represents a reduction in the volume of usage if the water was not used, or the order was cancelled or not approved. This volume decreases the Barmah Choke trade balance.  Usage reversals are not restricted by the Barmah Choke trade rule and may result in a negative trade balance.

Admin Adjustments: Any administrative adjustments made to the Barmah Choke trade balance.  Examples are to correct processing errors, system issues, policy decisions or required end-of-water-year adjustments. A positive adjustment volume increases the Barmah Choke trade balance and a negative adjustment volume decreases the Barmah Choke trade balance.

Rejection: The volume of applications to trade from up to down that were refused because there was not sufficient capacity to trade available.