THE NSW primary industries minister has vowed to stand by the Griffith community when it needs her most following threats more water could be taken from local irrigators.
Federal water minister Tony Burke was upbeat on Tuesday when he announced taking 3200 gigalitres of productive water would provide "staggeringly different" environmental outcomes to the proposed 2750 gigalitres under the draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
But removing an additional 450 gigalitres of water from the basin would have a crippling effect on the local economy, stakeholders say.
An Independent Economics study on taking 2750 gigalitres found there would be a 9 per cent impact on GDP, a $200 million loss of income and 2100 jobs lost in the south-west Murrumbidgee area alone.
Those figures would be magnified if more water was lost from the region.
Mr Burke and the state water ministers have been negotiating on the basin plan behind closed doors for six weeks, forcing locals to put their trust in NSW minister Katrina Hodgkinson to fight for balance for irrigation communities.
Yesterday, Ms Hodgkinson pledged to maintain her stance, as promised to 7000 people at a Griffith rally in June.
"I am unwavering in my commitment to ensuring that rural communities including Griffith are not devastated by a short term, short-sighted plan," Ms Hodgkinson said.
"The MIA alone contributes over $2.5 billion annually to our national economy but the social value of our farming communities is harder to measure, and impossible to replace.
"I will not compromise on either."
The modelling that sparked Mr Burke's announcement found 3200 gigalitres of water would provide markedly increased benefits to the environment but only if the natural and man-made constraints that diverted water away from the main river course were removed.
Ricegrowers Association president Les Gordon questioned how the modelling could add value to the basin plan debate.
"Just feeding data into a model is not addressing the issues around the constraints," Mr Gordon said.
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority assured The Area News it had no intention of changing the volume of water in the plan before it went to parliament.