Trading zones of the Southern Connected System
The major tributary rivers of the Southern Connected System include the Darling and Murrumbidgee Rivers in NSW, and the Goulburn, Broken, Campaspe and Lodden Rivers in Victoria. While these interstate tributaries all have large water storages, there are no major tributary rivers to the River Murray in South Australia.
Major tributary rivers of the Southern Connected System
To facilitate water transfers, the key sections of the River Murray and its tributary rivers within the Southern Connected System have been divided into the 13 trading ‘zones’. The entire section of the SA Murray is within trading Zone 12.
Interstate water trading zones
- Interactive map detailing the generally allowable directions of water allocation transfers among all interstate water trading zones of the Southern Connected System zones.
- The trading opportunities are from Table 1 of the Permissible Transfers between Trading Zones Protocol 2010.
General water allocation trade opportunities into South Australia
Generally, SA River Murray water users are able to purchase water allocation from within SA, or from water rights holders in NSW and Victoria with few restrictions.
This includes transfers from zones in the NSW and Victorian tributaries that are connected to the River Murray.
An exception is the purchase of water allocation from above the ‘Barmah choke’ for extraction downstream of the choke. In this regard, the default position is that net trade is not allowed from upstream to downstream of the choke ― so from Zones 6 and 10 ― but it has been allowed in the past under particular circumstances. Refer here for more information about the Barmah choke trade restriction.
General water trade opportunities into South Australia
General water allocation trade opportunities out of South Australia
Generally, water allocation transfers are also permitted directly from the SA Murray into the trading zones of the NSW and Victorian Murray (Zones 6, 7, 10 and 11) and by ‘back trade’ from SA into the connected NSW and Victorian tributaries.
An opportunity for back‑trade into a tributary arises when water has previously been transferred out of the tributary to the Murray but the out-transferred water has not yet been delivered by the Murray‑Darling Basin Authority, i.e. while the net volume of allocation ‘owed’ to the Murray system from the tributary is greater than zero. This is necessary because water cannot flow backwards.
General water trade opportunities out of South Australia
If you own or want to buy an interstate water entitlement to use the water allocation in South Australia, you can do this under a system known as ‘tagging’. An entitlement that is ’tagged’ retains all of its original interstate characteristics, but the tagging arrangement makes clear that the intended use of the water allocation under that entitlement is in another state or another trading zone.
The form to establish a tag on an entitlement is available here (River Murray, Form T1 or T2).
To order water allocation under a tagged entitlement to SA, you will need to contact DEWNR Licensing in Berri on (08) 8595 2053.
Importantly, if you do own an interstate water entitlement, you do not need to establish a tag to receive water allocated under that entitlement in SA. You can just transfer the water allocation as required using a standard water allocation transfer form (Form A.1).
While you will pay an application fee to establish a tag on an interstate entitlement, the benefit of establishing a tag is that once the tag is in place, no further fees are required to maintain the tag or to order water.
If you instead transfer water allocation across trading zones, you will have to apply and pay the transfer fees at least on a yearly basis. If you own entitlements in more than one trading zone, tagged trading is designed to help you manage and use your portfolio of allocations at a reduced cost.
If there is a restriction on water allocation transfers between two trading zones, the Basin Plan Water Trading Rules may require that the same restriction applies to orders for water allocation under a tagging arrangement. Whether the same restriction applies depends on the date that the tag was established.
For tags established before 22 October 2010, restrictions on orders for water under a tag will not apply ever.
For tags established between 22 October 2010 and 24 November 2012, restrictions on orders for water under a tag will apply after 1 July 2019.
For tags established after 24 November 2014, restrictions on orders for water under a tag will apply.