The CEO of one of the state's biggest irrigation operators said on Wednesday he had no doubt the water buybacks bill would pass the senate.
Murrumbidgee Irrigation CEO Brett Jones believed the bill, which was to come before the Senate at any time, would ultimately be voted in and said now is the time to work on the next steps.
Earlier this week it was announced the Greens had done a deal with the federal government to see the Murray Darling Basin Bill extended to 2026.
Mr Jones believes the onus must now be on ensuring as many water projects as possible are implemented to counteract the effects.
"I've been concerned with minimising the impact from the start," he said.
"To do that we need to concentrate on maximising water projects and fast-tracking them to minimise the impact of buybacks by the deadline of 2026," Mr Jones said.
Some of those infrastructure works include both mid and lower-Murrumbidgee optimisation projects being driven by MI Irrigation and Coleambally Irrigation, as well as Murray Irrigation's Murray reconnected flood plains project.
"A great frustration in meeting with cross-bench senators was being asked why we hadn't done anything in the time the basin plan has been around. My response was simply that this is a government plan. It was their responsibility to deliver and they failed," he said.
"We wanted to do things differently but we weren't included. Now we are telling them to give us a go. Obviously things need to be done a different way because we don't want the same outcome as what we've seen.
"Under the new plan, they have two and a half years to complete projects which isn't a lot of time. What we've asked is that funding be invested into the bill to help that happen. If it doesn't, that's when we could see buybacks."
Mr Jones said he is disappointed 'the government is concentrating on water flow as opposed to basin communities.'
"The long-term average delivery for the MIA is 620 gigilitres. If they just took the water from the MIA that would shuts us down and they still would not get the volume needed," he said.
While Mr Jones believes the area will certainly be worse off, it won't be decimated.
"Yes, potentially we are in for hard times ahead," he said.
"But we will prosper. The MIA is the place to be for those who want to work in irrigated agriculture. That will never change.
"Our farmers have been dealing these issues for over a decade. I know how resilient, agile and strong our irrigation farmer base is in the MIA and I have a lot of faith and optimism for the future.
"I'm also pragmatic. I know we have to do the best we can to protect our communities and that is what needs to happen now."
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