Analysis by Independent Economics shows that more than 2000 jobs and annual income of $194 million would be wiped out in the Murrumbidgee region alone, if the Murray-Darling Basin Plan goes ahead in its current form.
The research, commissioned by stakeholders in the Murrumbidgee region, also shows GDP in the area would fall by 9 per cent, giving many rural residents an overwhelming incentive to move out of the region.
The NSW Irrigators Council and the National Farmers' Federation said the research vindicated their claim the draft basin plan would cost regional jobs.
''The proposed basin plan is going to hurt regional communities; and this report is evidence of that,'' NFF president Jock Laurie said.
The report comes as submissions to the long-running process flooded in yesterday, the last day of public consultation. About 500 submissions were lodged yesterday, bringing the total to more than 8000.
South Australia urged 71 changes to the plan, arguing that the current plan to return 2750 gigalitres of water to the Murray River annually would not be enough to ensure the river's survival.
On Friday, Victoria joined NSW in stridently opposing its plan on behalf of irrigation communities, which would be negatively affected by cuts to water entitlements.
And Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said in Adelaide the federal government ''should not be banking on [Greens'] support for the multi-billion dollar plan in its current form''.
''It is absolutely imperative for the survival of South Australia that this plan doesn't go ahead as is,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.
''This plan is going to lock in failure, lock in failure for the river, lock in failure for South Australia.''
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce said the Independent Economics analysis exposed the ''dodgy'' modelling relied upon by the government.
''The government's economic modelling of the basin plan is a complete farce,'' Senator Joyce said.
''It assumes that no irrigator will leave the region after water is bought back from a community.''
Other late submissions include one by two University of Central Queensland academics, including climate-change sceptic Jennifer Marohasy.
Their submission said the draft water basin plan was ''based on the assumption that current levels of water extraction within the Murray-Darling Basin are unsustainable and that this is causing environmental degradation''.
''This assumption, that there is over-allocation of the water resource, is not questioned or proven in the proposed basin plan. But this is central to the operation of the computer models that underpin the basin plan.''
The submission by Dr Marohasy, a former IPA senior fellow, and her colleague John Abbott acknowledges it was funded by the Bryant Macfie Family Foundation. In 2008 the IPA facilitated a $350,000 donation by G. Bryant Macfie, a climate change sceptic, to the university for the furthering of research.
Last week however, a group of more than 60 academics from across Australia issued a joint submission to the review urging the federal government to go further, saying increasing the target of 2750 GL a year being restored to the environment would have wide-ranging ecological and economic benefits.