After almost a decade of water recovery stagnation, the prospect of water being returned to the Murray Darling Basin by the due date of 2024 looks dire.
The second review of the Water for the Environment Special Account has been released on Tuesday, August 2 and the state's peak environment body said alarm bells should be sounded for South Australia.
Just 2.6GL of the 450GL under the program has been recovered so far. That's less than one per cent.
Conservation Council of SA Chief Executive, Craig Wilkins said "upstream interests would like to believe this water is optional. But that wasn't the deal when the plan was signed off on and it isn't now."
"This review was due last September, but the previous government refused to release it despite the Senate ordering it to be made public," Mr Wilkins said.
"There has been a frustrating lack of transparency about this woeful lack of water recovery.
"With only two years left of this plan, real discussions need to be had about the efficiency and cost of the remaining projects identified under the WESA."
The WESA is the program that provides the funding for the recovery of the 450GL negotiated by South Australia under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
It is an essential part of the total 3,200 recovery target under the plan.
"The Conservation Council of SA would like to applaud the new Water Minister Tanya Plibersek's commitment to full recovery of the 450GL," Mr Wilikins said.
"As the voluntary buyback of water from willing sellers is the fastest, most cost effective and efficient form of water recovery, it must be back on the table as a key focus of the plan.
"In the meantime, South Australia has been well and truly let down by the lack of water recovery to date."
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