Southern basin farmers "don't want a welfare handout" they want "their water back".
Despite acknowledging the drought assistance package, announced last week by the federal government, is "a step in the right direction", Southern Riverina Irrigators chair and grain farmer Chris Brooks said it is "a little too late".
The package included an extra 100 gigalitres of water to be made available to struggling irrigators next month to help "grow summer pasture".
But Mr Brooks said if the water isn't available by the end of next week it will be too late for summer crops.
"Those crops will die," Mr Brooks said
"We don't want charity or a welfare handout we simply want our water allocation back.
"This is finally the government looking in the right direction but for a lot of grain farmers out our way it is too late."
Environment Minister and Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said suggestions the emergency water won't be available until April is wrong.
"The intention is water will be made available in December in order that it grow summer pasture in the NSW and Victorian Murray region," she said. "It may also be available for winter planting and we expect it will all be used by April 30, 2020.
"The 25 megalitres is the minimum allocation, however it is certainly not the maximum that may be allocated per farmer.
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"The price per megalitre has yet to be settled but it will be a lot closer to $100 per ML than the current actual price of temporary water."
Mr Brooks said his 2000 hectare property downstream from Corowa could produce $2 million worth of grain if he has water.
"Twenty-five megalitres isn't going to touch the surface, if it doesn't rain that crop will die," he said.
Ms Ley said the assistance water, which is being supplied by the South Australian desalination plant, is costing the government "close to $90 million".
"This measure is about two things: a realistic economic stimulus for our region and fodder to help keep breeding stock going," she said.
"The arrangement we have struck with SA means that we do not have to pass legislation to amend the basin plan. As you all know this would take too long and might not be successful.
"I continue to look for any and all opportunities to secure water for our region.
Details on the application process for eligible farmers will be available this week.