THE Murray Darling Basin Authority was left in no doubt the irrigation industry is on a war footing after a fiery visit to the Riverina last week.
Authority chairman Mike Taylor was heckled and jeered by a crowd of almost 5000 at Griffith.
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MDBA members visited Shepparton, Deniliquin and Griffith as part of a basin-wide tour to gather feedback on the controversial Murray Darling Basin plan.
In Griffith, 240 business closed and streets were lined with placards declaring war on the authority and the basin plan.
Angry irrigators vented their frustrations by burning copies of the draft basin plan in the carpark.
Griffith irrigator Tony Romeo, who helped to burn copies of the plan, spent $500,000 on temporary water last year to save his prune and grape crops.
"There is no way we could sustain the trading of more water," Mr Romeo said.
Sam Mussolino's spoke of an uncertain future for his four sons as he torched copies of the draft basin plan in an impromptu protest.
The third-generation Griffith orchardist said the future for his family would be dim if the basin plan were implemented.
Griffith Mayor Mike Neville said the plan would "obliterate" communities in the Murrumbidgee valley.
"This is driving down the business confidence of the basin and mainstream Australia," Cr Neville said.
Murrumbidgee Private Irrigators chairman Murray Shaw accused the authority of dragging out the consultation process.
"This is a slow-motion train wreck for our community," Mr Shaw said.
Earlier in the week, an irrigators meeting at Shepparton was more subdued.
Questions about the social and economic impact of the plan and reimbursements for water losses were asked repeatedly as those in the room grew agitated.
Theona Parton, a dairy farmer from Waaia, half an hour's drive from Shepparton, said she was disappointed with the presentation.
"Well the actual presentation didn't tell us anything at all," Mrs Parton said.