Barmah Choke trade opportunity for new irrigation year


The Barmah Choke water trade balance to start the 2023-24 water year will deliver a solid trade opportunity for irrigators.

MDBA Executive Director of River Management Andrew Reynolds, said the water available to trade downstream of the Barmah Choke on 1 July 2023 would be about 60.6 gigalitres.

"This projected figure will be the highest since trade restrictions through the choke came into force in 2014," Mr Reynolds said.

"Recent floods and successive wet seasons have contributed to all Basin states receiving their full allocations against water entitlements, enabling a higher trade figure for the upcoming season.

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

The Barmah Choke is a naturally narrow stretch of the Murray River 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 local river environment.

"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," Mr Reynolds said.

"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 state government trade approval authorities. Water market participants should consider the closing times and opening times of state water registers for the 2022-23 and the 2023-24 water years respectively, when determining their trade activity.

There are no plans to relax the restriction on trade through the Barmah Choke in 2023-24. The rules of trade are governed by the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement between the Commonwealth and the Basin state governments.

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