A new report suggests job losses in the southern Murray-Darling Basin region are being driven by drought, population decline and on-farm technology.

Murray-Darling Basin Authority research has assessed community and employment impacts from 2000 to 2016.

They found there has been a 37 per cent decline in farm sector jobs, 7 per cent of which were the result of the Basin Plan.

The report found a 13 per cent decline in employment across the region, a quarter of which was linked to the plan.

Murray-Darling Basin Authority chief Phillip Glyde said the findings would not comfort communities, but they will benefit from long-term sustainability when the plan was fully implemented.

“When you think about it across the Basin, we're removing roughly 20 per cent of the water that had previously been used,” Mr Glyde said.

“Whilst part of that water removal is through being more efficient with it, you are taking away, in the short term, income from the farming community and the communities that support farmers.

“The reason that's being done is we want these industries to survive into the future.

“As climate change and other things begin to impact and as we address the over-allocation of water in the past, this is putting the industry and those communities on a secure footing.”

Mr Glyde said the report would inform future Basin Plan moves, and could trigger debate among regional communities and environmentalists.

“Some people will say that we have overestimated the impact, others will say we've underestimated,” he said.

“We expect there will be a contest of ideas and that's what the whole idea is about.

“We believe this is pretty good work, it's ground-breaking work, it hasn't been done before.”