ANOTHER delay in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has some local stakeholders fed up and others excited about the potential for a better plan.
While many took it as a positive sign that water minister Tony Burke was making more time to listen to state water ministers' concerns, others believed drawing out the process would cause more damage to beaten-down irrigation communities.
Mr Burke announced yesterday he would give the basin states "a few more weeks" to respond to the latest incarnation of the plan.
He believed a consensus on the plan was imminent and the extra time would be worthwhile if he could move ahead with the states' support.
But Murrumbidgee High Security Irrigators CEO Brian Halse said irrigation communities were tired of waiting for the plan to be finalised.
"This plan is now out of the community's hands, it sits squarely with the politicians and we will have to live with whatever they put forward," Mr Halse said.
"We've been hanging in the balance for the best part of five years the community wants to move on.
"Agriculture is looking more positive than it has for a long time.
"High security has full allocation and there are large areas of rice and cotton throughout the district.
"Just give us the plan and we'll deal with it."
This is the second time the state ministers have been given an opportunity to make recommendations on the basin plan.
In July, they requested dozens of changes to the draft plan, which aims to return 2750 gigalitres of productive water to the environment, but many were ignored.
NSW Water Minister Katrina Hodgkinson has publicly rejected the latest version of the plan, asking for more information about implementation as well as compensation for irrigation-reliant communities.
The current negotiations will be the state ministers' last chance to have their say on the plan before it becomes legislation.
Murrumbidgee Food and Fibre Association president Debbie Buller believed the extension of negotiations was a positive sign for irrigation communities.
"It looks like the states are doing the right thing and not allowing the plan to go through until they are satisfied with it," Mrs Buller said.
"The reason the Water Act (which the basin plan is based on) is such a horrible mess is that the document the states saw is not what ended up in parliament.
"The states can't let that happen again. They need to dig their heels in and say no."
In announcing the extension of the consultation period, Mr Burke said he was still determined to have the plan in place before the end of the year.