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

General water allocation trading opportunities into and out of South Australia

The general opportunities for trading water rights among trading zones can be seen by hovering your mouse pointer over the zones of interest on the MDBA’s Interstate water trading zones map.

A table summarising the allowable directions of water trades among the trading zones of the southern-connected system is available on the MDBA website.

The general opportunities for trading water allocation into and out of South Australia, as specified in the map and table, are detailed below.

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.

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 trading zones of 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.