While the level of emotion is understandable, some of the people of Shepparton and Deniliquin haven't done their communities too many favours with their antics at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority consultations. Showing up with nooses, making comparisons to Hitler and burning copies of the relevant document -- the guide to the draft of the plan -- won't help anything. As Griffith's deputy mayor Dom Testoni suggested this morning to the ABC, once the passion is vented over the next couple of weeks, there can begin a process of providing detailed feedback to the MDBA. Nonetheless, hysteria and predictions of disaster may just feed urban perceptions of whingeing cockies.

The claim is repeatedly being made that the size of the proposed cuts have come as a shock to irrigators. This is hard to sustain. As early as October last year, the National Water Commission said in its biennial assessment of water reform that irrigated agriculture in northern Victoria faced cuts of up to 30%. The magnitude of the over-allocation of the MDB has long been apparent, even if the direct impact of reducing it in each region has not.