NSW now '100%' in drought

Elias Hubbard
August 10, 2018

THE entire state of New South Wales is now officially in drought, following an extremely dry winter. In New South Wales state, agriculture contributes more than AU$15 billion (€9.6 billion, $11.1 billion) to the state's economy annually and employs more than 77,000 people.

According to the Department of Primary Industries, 61 per cent of NSW is either in drought or intense drought, while almost 39 per cent is drought affected.

One of the driest winters on record has led to water shortages and diminishing food for stock across the state and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said producers were facing "very hard decisions".

Mr Blair said only 0-10mm of rain has been recorded over the past month in the Western, North West and Central areas of NSW.

The Bureau of Meteorology's outlook for the next few months shows below-average rainfall and hotter temperatures than normal, which will likely exacerbate the drought.

"Producers are now faced with some very hard decisions on whether to graze sown crops or rely on potential rainfall in the next two months in order to increase yield production".

Frank McRae, chair of the Australian Fodder Industry Association, said the drought has left dire feeding conditions for the animals. "You have to go back to 1981-1982 to see a drought this widespread and so severe". Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said earlier this week conditions were so bad that the country had to accept it was a "land of drought and flooding rains".

No, the so-called millennium drought of 1997-2005 is often cited as the most devastating - it ravaged nearly 50 per cent of Australia's agricultural land. "It's a very volatile and often capricious climate, and Australian farmers are resilient".

The problem isn't confined to NSW.

Residents living and working in Australia's biggest city aren't immune to the worsening crisis either, with a staggering 90.1 per cent of Greater Sydney now in "intense drought".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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