Kyabram Free Press
Study to assess Barmah Choke
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.