This week nearly 4000 people downed tools to protest in rallies across Murray Darling Basin communities.
They wanted to send a strong message to politicians in Canberra: Keep towns thriving, say NO to water buybacks.
Businesses sacrificed trade so staff could attend, councils closed roads and farmers left their paddocks in one of the busiest times of the year all so they could have their voices heard to a government that just isn't listening.
The federal government, led by Water Minister Tanya Plibersek, wants to rewrite the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
This legislation is before the Senate and rips apart the fragile unity that had been in place between the five Basin states.
This new "Plan" instead abandons socioeconomic safeguards and expands buybacks without any consideration for Basin communities still struggling to recover from the impacts of water buybacks more than a decade ago.
Former Australian Labor Party Water Minister Tony Burke knew in 2012 that buybacks caused hardship for communities.
That's why he explicitly ruled them out for the additional 450 GL of water acquisition.
Nothing has changed since then, except a new ALP Water Minister who will not listen to, much less visit, impacted communities across the Basin.
The people living in these communities have bitter lived-experience of the impacts of past water recovery and know only too well well about successive governments' failure to make good on promised structural adjustment.
It was clear at the rallies in Griffith, Leeton and Deniliquin this week that people are tired, they are angry and they are frustrated.
They certainly don't want to be fighting the Government, they want to get on with their lives, for their towns to thrive and to keep farmers farming.
The river system is their lifeblood and there's not one person who doesn't want a healthy Basin.
These communities want to work with the government to achieve this.
Instead they've been met with a brick wall, with the Minister not even bothering to step foot in their communities.
What is beyond infuriating is there are options out there to improve river health that don't mean buybacks.
If the Minister thinks flushing more water down the river is going to magically reach the Basin Plan's targets, it's simply not.
Fixing cold water pollution and bank erosion, creating fishways and eradicating carp and supporting the private wetlands to continue to flourish are just a few practical environmental solutions.
The Basin communities are now pleading with crossbench Senators David Pocock and Jacqui Lambie to side with their communities, to save their jobs, their farms and to make sure families don't leave town.
The history book isn't very old.
We know what buybacks do to communities.
We don't need to go down that path again when there are smarter ways to help the river and save communities at the same time.
- David Jochinke is the president of the National Farmers Federation