Positive opening for water trade downstream of Barmah Choke

A positive opening balance means water will be available to be traded in the River Murray from above the Barmah Choke to below the choke on 1 July 2021.

The MDBA Executive Director of River Management, Andrew Reynolds, said the trade balance at the Barmah Choke for the start of the water year was expected to be about 31.4 gigalitres.

“Each year we make this information available ahead of the next water season to allow water users to make plans,” Mr Reynolds said.

The Barmah Choke, also known as the Narrows, is a reach of the River Murray upstream of Echuca where a narrowing of the river channel constricts the volume of water that can pass through.

A restriction on the amount of water that can be traded through the choke has been in place for several years to protect water delivery to existing entitlement holders downstream and to maintain the environment in this section of river.

“While trading water from downstream to upstream of the choke is always open, trades from upstream to downstream of the choke 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 when planning for the year ahead, with consideration of storage levels, expected demand, state allocations and climate forecasts.

It is important to note that there are no plans to relax the restriction on trade across the Barmah Choke.

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