Riverina irrigators are pinning their hopes on former Defence Force head Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston, who has been appointed as the new chairman of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.
Sir Houston will be the latest political "outsider" to scrutinise the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, following on from the appointment of former police commissioner Mick Keelty to the role of inspector general.
The change in leadership has sparked renewed hopes of reform among some farmers, however MIA irrigator Chint Quarisa said he remained sceptical whether a "new face" would make any difference.
Mr Quarisa said he had seen MDBA chairmen come and go over the decades, but had never seen any meaningful reform to the benefit of southern basin irrigators.
"Changing the chairman ain't going to make no difference - they have to disband the MDBA and start again. The whole process was flawed from the start," Mr Quarisa said.
"For me it's obvious that the concerns of irrigators and viability of irrigators in NSW are not being looked at, not being listened to, and it's very disappointing. A new chairman makes no difference whatsoever."
Mr Quarisa said he planned to soon retire from farming altogether, saying there was no future for the industry while the Murray Darling Basin Plan still exists.
Speak Up Campaign chairwoman Shelley Scoullar said it was "imperative" that Sir Angus visit the Murray and Murrumbidgee regions to see the "damage" caused by the basin plan with his own eyes.
"Sir Angus has an opportunity to re-set the relationship with our communities and help us work on solutions that can improve this failing basin plan," Ms Scoullar said.
"However, to achieve this he must do what those previously involved in the MDBA have not been able to - that is, listen to our community leaders and the solutions we can provide."