David Thurley hopes recent rain will be sustained by good falls throughout winter, to ensure irrigators get water allocations.
The Murray Darling Association national president said things "were looking grim" until mid-March.
"If we get the normal winter and spring rainfall, we'll probably have quite comfortable water storages and I would hope that NSW farmers can look forward to some irrigation allocations in the next season," he said.
"We've already had two years without allocations.
"The Darling has finally flowed ... and is now reaching the Murray. That's a big plus for people's mental health.
"But we need to hold on a little bit and make sure these rains are sustained."
The MDA has released a response to Interim Inspector-General Mick Keelty's report, which found the amount of water flowing into the Murray River over the past 20 years has halved.
Chief executive Emma Bradbury said the report was factual, and provided a "clear directive" for government with it recommending "a single authoritative platform" for information.
Cr Thurley said he knew the report "disappointed a number of people who felt they would get some more water" as a result of his findings.
"What he [Mr. Keelty] said and what I think is the case, is there's a lot of confusion right across the basin," he said.
"We've got different rules in every state, there's some states that haven't done their water plans and they were supposed to have been done by December last year.
"We've seen Ministerial council meetings where everyone says 'x, y, z', and two days later you have state ministers saying 'we're going to pull out of the plan'. We have to do better than that.
"This is what Keelty is trying to say - government has to get more out there and be more open and explain it more clearly so people can learn to trust the plan."
Cr Thurley said some people had "paid heavy prices" for the inconsistencies.
"But in the end, it's for the long-term health of the river," he said.
"If we didn't pay the price now, you would be paying it in five to 10 more years with wetlands dying; it's something that has to be done, the only question is have we done it the right way?
"Keelty made a very important point; we've made our plan based on historical flows, but climate change is turning that on its head.
"The flows are way down historically on what they've been."
IN OTHER NEWS:
The MDA is calling on Basin Ministers to act with urgency on the recommendations as well as those contained in other reports to government.
In response to the Interim Inspector-General's report on water sharing in the southern Murray-Darling Basin, Murray-Darling Basin Authority chief executive Phillip Glyde also raised climate change.
"We've commissioned the CSIRO to model possible climate scenarios that we could face by 2050 in the northern and southern Basin," he said.
"This research will help us all to better understand what changes are required to ensure we all have a sustainable future.
"We know some irrigators will feel disappointed that the report has not unearthed any new water for communities doing it tough because of the drought, however it does show that every drop is accounted for and is made available to the state governments to manage and allocate according to their rules.
"Our river operators are expert at what they do and they work cooperatively with their state colleagues."