A WaterNSW forum has attempted to allay MIA irrigators' concerns over water availability and carry-over in the new season.
Despite water and soil moisture levels hitting record lows, a WaterNSW information session has outlined their plans and progress in 'drought-proofing' the area.
NSW manager for water allocation for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment - water division Brian Graham said they were "planning for the worst but hoping for the best".
He said the Murrumbidgee system was in the best condition comparatively across the state, and if general water security allocations were decreased it would just be a "haircut".
"Even if we don't get the inflows expected, the shortfall will be quite modest... the risk [of shortfall] is very, very small," Mr Graham said.
Even if we don't get the inflows expected, the shortfall will be quite modest... the risk [of shortfall] is very, very small.Brian Graham
"This year we have been building that reserve for next year to underpin those obligations for next year. This reduces reliance on future inflows, so if they don't come, we have water set aside."
Riverina Winegrape Growers board director Tony Baggio attended the meeting, and had concerns for a longer-term outlook.
"If everything falls into place, we should be able to get over this difficult year, but if it doesn't... we will be in dire straights," Mr Baggio said.
"Towns on the Murrumbidgee may be OK because of the water stored in the Burrinjuck and Blowering, but if general security gets down to zero it will start coming off our high security allocation, which means there will be a lot of permanent plantings in trouble."
With the drought framework/strategy in place for other areas across NSW, Mr Graham said it was "a little premature" to implement for the Murrumbidgee and Murray rivers, but it was there ready to go if needed.
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