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Key facts about drought

Learn about how drought is categorised, which areas are affected and who it impacts.

How drought happens and which areas are affected

With one of the most variable rainfall climates in the world,severe drought affects some part of Australia about once every 18 years. Intervals between severe droughts have varied from four to 38 years and the impacts of climate change will mean more prolonged dry periods, particularly in inland areas of NSW.

The NSW Government plays a vital role in managing, allocating and protecting the water resources of NSW. This is especially important during extreme events such as droughts or poor water quality events.

Learn more about drought

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Drought affects everyone, not just farmers

While severe drought is not uncommon in Australia, the past three years have been the driest on record for New South Wales. 

It’s not just farmers who have been hit hard. The crippling effects have spread beyond the farm gate and are being felt by towns, cities, workers, families and businesses large and small, right across the state. 

When people living in drought-affected communities can’t afford to spend, the flow on effects to local tradies, suppliers and retailers can be devastating.

How you can help

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NSW Government response to drought

Securing water for towns and domestic supply is a NSW Government priority.

The government is providing substantial assistance for farmers and towns facing emergency water shortages through its $1.8 billion Drought Emergency Relief Package, including the $170 million Drought Stimulus Package, and for long-term town water security projects through the $1 billion commitment to the Safe and Secure Program.

NSW Government initiatives

Murray Darling Basin

Support is available for primary producers, businesses and local councils

The NSW Government provides funding, loans, subsidies and other support to drought-affected producers, businesses, councils and communities. There is financial support directly available to farmers and also programs to help with livestock, plants and animals.

Find financial support

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