Goulburn inter-valley trade and Murray shortfall risks

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7 December 2021



New interim policy arrangements have been implemented for Goulburn inter-valley trade (IVT) during 2021-22. These new arrangements affect the over-all volume and the timing of water trade through the year, from the Goulburn to the Murray system.

Over-all volume:

  • About 130 gigalitres (GL) of net trade opportunity from the Goulburn to the Murray system is expected in 2021-22, with average conditions.
  • In the past, Goulburn IVT volumes have varied from year to year depending on factors including the season, and on water and commodity prices. A record Goulburn IVT volume of 250 gigalitres occurred in 2017-18.

1 July to 15 December:

  • Under the new arrangements, when water can be delivered from the Goulburn IVT account, trade opportunity increases by an equivalent volume.
  • When the balance of water owed from the Goulburn to the Murray in that year drops below 190GL, trade opens.

15 December to 30 June:

  • On 15 December if Goulburn high-reliability water share seasonal determinations are not going to reach 100% additional trade opportunity is released.
  • From 15 December onwards, when water is delivered from the Goulburn IVT account, trade opportunity is not created.
  • Typically, the Goulburn IVT account balance will be drawn down, resulting in opening trade opportunity available on 1 July in the next season.
  • Opportunity to trade out of the Goulburn may still become available if back-trade occurs from the Murray to the Goulburn system.


  • Murray delivery shortfall risks have been increasing over the last 10 to 20 years.
  • Murray shortfall risks below Barmah cannot be managed to zero.
  • When a shortfall occurs, water will be temporarily rationed according to delivery share or extraction share.
  • A system shortfall occurs when there is not enough capacity in the river and channel system to supply all downstream water needs. There is a low risk of a system shortfall in 2021 – 22.
  • A delivery shortfall occurs when there is an unexpected spike in demand and not enough time to get more water from the dams to where users want it. There is always a risk of a delivery shortfall, especially during a heatwave.
  • For updated information on the shortfall risk, monitor the Murray Darling Basin Authority Weekly Report.


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