Not long ago irrigators were burning copies of the draft plan and states were on the brink of High Court action.
There's still plenty of argument to go, but the Australian Government says it's a new beginning for the river system.
Melissa Clarke reports from Canberra.
Correspondent: Melissa Clarke
Speakers: Tony Burke, Australian Environment Minister; Tim Kelly, South Australia Conservation Council; Peter Owen, Wilderness Society SA; Andrew Gregson, New South Wales Irrigators' Council; Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens spokeswoman; Simon Birmingham; Opposition spokesman
MELISSA CLARKE, REPORTER: It's been a long and winding path to overhaul the management of the nation's largest river system. The Federal Government says it's now done.
TONY BURKE, ENVIRONMENT MINISTER: It's been a century in the waiting, but the ink is now on the page, the law is now in place and the Murray-Darling Basin will be restored to health.
MELISSA CLARKE: It'll see 2,750 gigalitres of water returned to the river system from 2019 and another 450 gigalitres after the Commonwealth removes choke points along the rivers.
TONY BURKE: Everyone and everything that depends on the Murray-Darling Basin loses if the system is allowed to collapse. This plan guarantees it doesn't.
MELISSA CLARKE: Conservationists insist 4,000 gigalitres is the bare minimum needed to restore the Murray's health, and downstream, they're despairing.
TIM KELLY, SA CONSERVATION COUNCIL: Unfortunately this plan has been based around a compromise of 2,750 gigalitres, but the science simply says that this is not enough to protect the long-term interests on the river.
PETER OWEN, WILDERNESS SOCIETY SA: This was our opportunity to get 100 years of mismanagement right and to turn us around to a sustainable footing and I fear we're failing unless the political will can be found very quickly.
MELISSA CLARKE: The draft plan and the revised draft sparked outrage in irrigation communities. The final Basin plan is getting a friendlier reception, but they're not entirely satisfied.
ANDREW GREGSON, NSW IRRIGATORS' COUNCIL: We are looking at a plan that is considerably different to what the guide was. There are a great deal more positives in it than there were at the time. The final positive would have been to limit buyback.
MELISSA CLARKE: The Federal Government says if the states stump up the money for infrastructure upgrades, water buybacks from irrigators will be minimal.
TONY BURKE: The big tender buyback rounds that we've seen in the past are now a thing of the past
BARRY O'FARRELL, NSW PREMIER: We've indicated that there should be a cap of 3 per cent and we've indicated that if the Federal Government doesn't agree to that, we'll legislate that way.
MELISSA CLARKE: But the Commonwealth is confident NSW will come around as the other states have because the Federal Government has the trump card.
TONY BURKE: There is Commonwealth reserve power to take over the planning powers. I work on the basis that that's a power that by virtue of existing, therefore it will never be used.
MELISSA CLARKE: The only thing that's left in the Government's way is the Greens' intention to move a disallowance motion in Federal Parliament next week, but its defeat is assured, with the Government and the Opposition voting together.