Drought to intensify in NSW, SA and Vic
Bureau of Meteorology agriculture general manager Peter Stone has explained how the drought will worsen in parts of southern Australia.
Bureau of Meteorology agriculture general manager Peter Stone said hot and dry conditions were likely to continue with an 80 per cent chance of above average temperatures over summer.
"It has been unusually hot and dry in most of Australia this year and the year before and this is likely to continue for the next six months," Mr Stone told the National Drought Summit in Canberra.
"Drought is normal, as is water surplus in Australia but it’s not predictable," Mr Stone said.
National water storage is at about 58 per cent, down 12 per cent on this time last year, while in NSW levels are at 37 per cent.
Mr Stone said water storage levels were not expected to rise in the near future, with reduced supply and increased demand likely to see future falls.
Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences executive director Steve Hatfield-Dodds told the summit the current drought is severe in some regions but covered a smaller area than previous events.
Climate effects are currently severe, but farm incomes are likely to be less affected than in previous droughts.
Dr Hatfield-Dodds warned of tensions between helping drought-affected farmers and promoting the best long-term industry performance.
"Supporting drought-affected farms has the potential, depending on how it’s done, to slow the process of farm consolidation and the growth in farm scale," he said,