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Relaxation of water trading rules through Barmah Choke extended to early 2009



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The Murray-Darling Basin Commission announced today that relaxation of the trading rule controlling the transfer of water allocations from upstream of the Barmah Choke downstream to other stretches of the Murray River will be relaxed until the end of February 2009.

Chief Executive Dr Wendy Craik AM said the 2008/09 water season has been dry with low allocations.

At the end of September 2008, minimal net trades through the Barmah Choke show that there was virtually no risk of exceeding the channel capacity of the river.

“While there may be an increase in trade activity through the Barmah Choke, the outlook for the Murray system remains very serious and water use is likely to be well below the long term average, similar to the last two years,” Dr Craik said.

“It is unlikely that channel capacity constraints would be experienced between now and February next year as a result of extending the Barmah Choke relaxation rule,” she said.

Dr Craik said extending the relaxation rule would enable entitlement holders above the Choke to sell their water allocations to downstream users which will assist them in managing their irrigation businesses.

“Allocation transfers downstream through the Barmah Choke are not normally allowed because the Choke constrains the volume of water that can pass and we cannot guarantee delivery every season.”

“However, because of the extended drought conditions and the lower than normal flows in the river, we are able to guarantee any transferred allocations.”

“If weather conditions change and we have more water within the river, we may need to cease this trading arrangement. However, any allocation transfers approved up until that time would be honoured,” Dr Craik said.

Trade in entitlements from above to below the Choke will continue to be prohibited.

Media inquires contact: Sam Leone, Phone: 0407 006 332

Trim ref: 08/11239

MEDIA RELEASE

Monday, 27 October 2008

Relaxation of water trading rules through Barmah Choke extended to early 2009