Kyabram Free Press

Study to assess Barmah Choke

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Scientists are planning to take a closer look at how the Barmah Choke affects river management.

A $3 million feasibilit­y study considerin­g options to address issues with the Barmah Choke has been announced by the Federal Government.

The Barmah Choke is a narrow section of the Murray River that runs through the Barmah-millewa Forest, downstream of Tocumwal.

The choke restricts the flow of the Murray River to about 7000 megalitres a day.

According to the Murraydarl­ing Basin Authority, research shows the amount of water that flows through this section of the river has decreased in the past three decades, down from 11,300 Ml a day.

The research shows land use changes — in particular gold mining and land clearing, along with de-snagging and river regulation in the 19th and early 20th centuries — is responsibl­e for introducin­g large volumes of sediment to the river over a short period of time, the so-called "sand slug".

National Irrigators Council chief executive Isaac Jeffrey said the Murray-darling Basin was a connected and complex system that stored and moved water throughout the eastern states.

“The Barmah Choke is the biggest natural constraint in the River Murray and a major factor contributi­ng to the difficulty of river management. Recent reports of sand further limiting the choke’s capacity are exacerbati­ng this constraint,’’ he said.

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