Water buybacks to help hit the Murray-Darling Basin Plan target are a short term environmental fix which could lead to the decline of Basin communities.
That's according to Senator Perin Davey, federal shadow Minister for Water.
The Basin Plan includes the recovery of 450 gigalitres for environmental flows, of which only two gigalitres has been recovered, and it is this figure which has been the driver of possible water buybacks.
Ms Davey farms near Deniliquin and said a study conducted on the town said it is 90 per cent irrigation-dependant and water buybacks in the area would have a dramatic impact.
Ms Davey said she is hearing the same concerns from many communities.
"I am travelling around Basin communities including Renmark, South Australia, Mildura and Shepparton, Victoria, and Griffith and Moree in NSW," she said.
"Everywhere I am hearing concerns about the flow-on impacts of water buybacks.
"When water leaves a district, while a farmer may be compensated, the reduction in production results in less jobs across sectors including transport and logistics, processing and manufacturing.
"These job losses snowball as people leave a community to seek employment elsewhere and that impacts football and netball clubs, school populations and more."
Ms Pavey said that the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has already been significantly contributing to water recovery but some people were focused on the negatives.
"After more than a decade, there has been significant progress," she said.
"Unfortunately people like to focus on what hasn't been achieved rather than what has been done.
"Under the plan there has been recovery of around 2100gl annual yield that has been used for bird and fish breeding events, has seen flows into the Ramsay listed Narran Lakes in the northern Basin and had the Lower Lakes connected to the Coorong for over 10 years.
"We have also learned a lot about the flow levels that communities can tolerate.
"We should review what we wanted to achieve from the Basin Plan, what we are achieving, if there are any remaining gaps and if we can achieve it through other measures."
There are other ways to achieve the necessary environmental outcomes, according to Ms Davey.
"There have been many suggestions provided from people within the Basin to strive for environmental outcomes without the need for water recovery," she said.
"These include complementary measures such as fishways, colds water pollution management and riparian vegetation management.
"Other suggestions include upgrading or better utilising existing infrastructure to target flows to wetlands without the need for widespread flooding and projects which create incidental or in-stream water savings. It just takes a change of mindset to recognise that the Basin Plan should be about outcomes not volumes."
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