Water

Choke trade unchanged

By Country News

Trading water from above the Barmah Choke to below the choke will continue to be restricted in the 2018-19 water year.

Water users upstream of the choke can still sell water to buyers downstream of the choke, but only if the same amount of water, or more, has been traded from downstream to upstream first.

Murray-Darling Basin Authority head of river management Andrew Reynolds said the continued restriction was necessary to ensure effective operation of the Murray River and delivery of water to entitlement holders downstream of the choke.

‘‘We need to ensure water trades can be managed with the current channel capacity at the choke because our primary water storages, Dartmouth and Hume dams, are upstream of the choke,’’ Mr Reynolds said.

‘‘Under the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement and as agreed by basin governments, the MDBA may, in times of exceptionally low water availability, relax the Barmah Choke trade restriction.

‘‘However, given the current level of water held in storages, system demands in 2018-19 are unlikely to be low enough, even under very dry conditions, to permit the lifting of the restriction.’’

Mr Reynolds said from July 1, the volume that could be traded through the Barmah Choke would be reset after it was adjusted to take account of water savings transferred to the Snowy scheme. This will result in an opening balance close to 31500Ml.

Trade from downstream of the choke to upstream is not restricted.