A NSW Government website

Drought, floods and extreme events

Drought recovery

Actions to recover from the 2017-2020 drought.

Great Darling Anabranch near Wentworth - Image credit: Vince Bucello DPE

Recovering from the 2017-2020 drought

During 2017 to 2020, large areas of NSW faced severe water shortages. Between January 2017 and December 2019, NSW temperatures were the warmest and rainfall was the lowest on record. During this time, river valleys were managed under the drought stages in the Extreme Events Policy.

All major river valleys in the state are now in Stage 1 of the Extreme Events Policy – Normal Operations.

As the state recovers from drought, the NSW Government is committed to earlier communication with communities when conditions indicate that we may be approaching drought. Clear and early communication will allow landholders and water users to better prepare for potential restrictions and ensure that applications for groundwater approvals and drought infrastructure are in place early.

Drought stages and measures implemented.

We allocate water based on availability and water sharing plans rules.

Providing advice on managing water supplies during drought.

Information about our public drop-in sessions.

When prolonged dry conditions or water quality events affect water availability.

Current temporary water restrictions for regulated river, unregulated river and groundwater water sources.

View a list of current water sharing plan suspensions.

The Act creates a temporary pathway for the Minister for Water to authorise critical water infrastructure developments.