New South Wales drought: Fears water will run out

A critical water shortage in New South Wales could see some parts of the state run dry in just a month. GETTY IMAGES
A critical water shortage in New South Wales could see some parts of the state run dry in just a month. GETTY IMAGES
Some towns, farms and rivers in Australia could run dry in just a month as parts of rural NSW continue to battle a devastating drought.

Rural NSW could run dry within a month as drought intensifies

As tens of thousands of Australians join the global climate change strike, parts of New South Wales could run out of water as early as November as rural areas continue to battle a devastating drought.

Grim predictions from WaterNSW have painted several worst-case scenarios whereby without significant rainfall or government intervention, a number of towns and communities will be without water within a month.

Already labelled a “critical” situation, the data predicts that the towns of Dubbo, Cobar, Nyngan and Narromine would be the first to see their water supplies run out.

The Macquairie River would also run dry under the same projection.

On average, the river takes in 1,448GL per year but in the past two years just 97GL has entered the river system, according to the data.

NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey said last Sunday that “everything humanly possible” is being done to avoid these areas running dry but admitted the situation remained “critical”.

Light relief for some

There have been signs of relief this week, with drought-stricken farms in western New South Wales receiving some rainfall.

However, farmers and residents in the driest parts of the state didn’t receive a single drop, with rainfall thinning out as soon as the weather system hit the Great Dividing Range.

“The Great Dividing Range has divided the rainfall once again,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Helen Reid told ABC.

“Further west it was very scraggly showers.”

ABC said while there were good levels of rainfall around the Blue Mountains, those in the most dire need of rain in the upper west and northwest of the state, which includes the towns of Tamworth, Bourke and Moree, were left high and dry.

NSW drought: Grim outlook

The WaterNSW predictions become even more ghastly when cast further into the future:

  • The Lachlan River could run dry by March 2020 and leave the towns of Forbes, Cowra and Parkes without water.
  • The Border rivers may dry up by September 2020 without government intervention and significant amounts of rain.
  • The Gwydir River, which receives 1,141GL of rain a year on average but took just 19GL last year, could dry up in March 2021, meaning no water will come through the taps in the town of Inverell.
  • The Warragamba Dam, Australia’s largest supply of urban water, could stop flowing in just over two years.


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