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Barmah Choke trade opportunity for new irrigation year: MDBA

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Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), Media Release, 16 May 2024

The Barmah Choke water trade balance to start the 2024–25 water year will deliver trade opportunity for irrigators.

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) Acting Executive Director of River Management Angus Paton said approximately 56 gigalitres (GL) of water would be available to trade downstream of the Barmah Choke on 1 July 2024. 

“This projected figure is 4 GL less than the 60 GL made available for the 2023–24 season, making it the second highest opening balance since trade restrictions through the Choke came into force in 2014,” Mr Paton said.

“The Barmah Choke is a naturally narrow stretch of the River Murray that limits the volume of water which can be delivered downstream. The Choke therefore has a trade restriction to protect delivery to existing entitlement holders and to maintain the river environment.

“Trading water from downstream to upstream of the Choke is always open, however 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.

“The MDBA makes information about the opening balance available to water users ahead of the new season and this year we expect 56 GL will be available to trade.”

There are no plans to relax the restriction on trade through the Barmah Choke in 2024–25. The rules of trade are governed by the Murray–Darling Basin Agreement between the Commonwealth and the Basin state governments.

River managers will continue to assess the balance of trade through the Choke throughout the year, by considering factors like storage levels, expected demand, state allocations, and climate forecasts.

Information on trade opportunities and applications to trade are provided by state government trade approval authorities. Market participants are encouraged to read the trade management protocol (PDF) developed jointly by the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) and WaterNSW.

Water market participants should consider the closing times and opening times of state water registers for the 2023–24 and the 2024–25 water years respectively, when determining their trade activity.

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