Topics > River Murray > Water allocation > Water markets and trade

Restrictions on River Murray water allocation trade into SA

All restrictions on water allocation trade must now be consistent with and allowable under the Basin Plan Water Trading Rules, which took effect on 1 July 2014 (refer Chapter 12 of the Basin Plan). The Trading Rules require that the trade of surface water be free of any restrictions unless states can justify them for specific reasons like not being able to deliver water, or to avoid effects on third parties and/or the environment.

In practice, in agreeing to the Basin Plan, states have committed to increasing the efficiency of water markets by removing unwarranted restrictions, and increasing transparency and the availability of information about restrictions. In this light, it is anticipated that it will be relatively uncommon for states to impose new restrictions. However, trading patterns and volumes are changing and state governments, together with the Murray‑Darling Basin Authority will continue to monitor water trade within and between states and trading zones, to ensure impacts to third parties and the environment are appropriately managed.

South Australia supports an open, efficient and transparent water market and does not tend to invoke any restrictions on the transfer of River Murray water allocation within South Australia, or between South Australia and New South Wales and Victoria.

There are known limits on the volume(s) of allocation that can be transferred into and/or out of some trading zones in new South Wales and Victoria though, and there are other common interstate restrictions that are in force from time to time (and occasionally for extended periods) that affect transfer options into and/or out of SA.

The most common transfer restrictions that can apply from time to time are described in this document.