Allocation and availability

Allocation and resource outlooks

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Water makes available water determinations (AWDs) or allocation announcements from the commencement of the water season on 1 July. A fact sheet explaining how water allocations are made is available here.

A presentation given by Brian Graham from the NSW Office of Water at the RGA Water Trade Workshop in July 2016 is available here. This explains that General Security allocations are calculated  by determining the total resources available - storage plus tributary plus minimum storage inflows - and subtracting the total supply requirements such as river operations, town, stock and domestic and high security.

Allocation announcements are generally made on the first and 15th (or next business day) until general security allocations reach 100 percent or mid-April, after which time it is assumed further inflows will contribute to higher opening allocations in the next year. Murray Irrigation passes this allocation onto customers with announcements sent out via our Talking Water subscription on the same day. Murray Irrigation also publishes these announcements on our website here.     

To assist with forward planning, DPI Water prepares an indicative water availability outlook usually in March and May preceding the commencement of the water season and potentially again in August if needed.

Water availability in Murray Irrigation

Murray Irrigation customers are issued allocations against their contractual water rights (water entitlements held within Murray Irrigation) in line with those announced by DPI Water.

Murray Irrigation customers may also purchase allocation on the temporary water market for use within Murray Irrigation, or they may sell allocation within or outside Murray Irrigation (see water market information below).

Murray Irrigation water availability and usage data is updated weekly via our Talking Water newsletter and includes:

  • On farm balance (including trade)
  • On farm use (including off-allocation)
  • Total season use to date
  • Net trade (excluding government) - reported as either positive (net trade into Murray Irrigation) or negative (net trade out of Murray Irrigation).

Water market

Water holders in the NSW Murray have access to both permanent and temporary water markets.

Murray Irrigation shares, water entitlements and delivery entitlements can be transferred between landholdings, and water entitlements can be transferred to and from any person including non-Murray Irrigation WAL licenses as long as NSW Office of Water (NOW) approves the trade. These may be sold with or without associated allocation. Murray Irrigation's fact sheet on permanent trade is available here.

Licence holders may access allocation on the temporary market. The NSW Murray can access allocation from within the valley (intra-valley), or from connected valleys in NSW (inter-valley), or from connected valleys in other states (inter-state).

The following markets are available to NSW Murray water licence holders within the stated limits.


Limit (where applicable)

 NSW Murray above Barmah Choke


 NSW Murray below Barmah

Trade from upstream to downstream limited to the volume of trade from downstream to upstream. View MDBA website.

 NSW Lower Darling

When Menindee Lakes in MDBA control

 NSW Murrumbidgee

Intervalley trade limit maximum net trade of 100GL out of Murrumbidgee.

 SA Murray

Limited only by Choke trade

 Victorian Murray

Trade from NSW to Victoria limited to a net annual volume of 200 GL, or the volume that keeps the risk of spill in the Murray below 50 percent. Victoria Water Register

 Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon

Can trade to the Victorian Murray system, NSW and South Australia while the total volume owed to the Murray system is less than 200 GL. Victoria Water Register