The Victorian Government is talking to residents about their wishes for the state’s water plan, but many who want a say think the talks should be delayed.

Public forums on new water laws will start today, after the State refused demands from environmental groups to extend the deadline for debate.

Environment Victoria and the Goulburn Valley Environment Group says the changes were announced too late, were too complex and were ignored over summer holidays – so they would like more time to look them over.

The Victorian Government is combining the Water Act 1989 and the Water Industry Act 1994 to simplify water management. The Water Bill Exposure Draft was released on December 19 with submissions closing on February 14.

Goulburn Valley group chairman John Pettigrew says the amendments are complicated and confusing.

“It is important that the public has the opportunity to understand the significance and potential impact of the proposals before being asked to make comment,” Environment Victoria rivers campaigner Juliet Le Feuvre said.

Richard Anderson, the Victorian Farmers Federation water council chairperson says he is “comfortable” with the timeline.

Water Minister Peter Walsh said through a spokesperson that the consultation period will not change.

The first public forum will be in Melbourne today, a second in Mildura tomorrow, followed by talks in Shepparton, Kerang, Wangaratta, Colac, Horsham and Traralgon.