WAGGA businesses are expecting to feel the strain of the drought continue after confirmation irrigators would start the season with no water allocations.
The NSW Department of Industry announced this week what water is available to farmers, industries and towns for the start of the 2019-20 season.
General security irrigators in the Murrumbidgee Valley were allocated no initial water, however, there is a chance for allocations to increase as the year progresses.
CLAAS Harvest Centre Wagga branch is just one local business that relies heavily on the agriculture sector to stay afloat and hopes to see a rise in water allocations.
Wagga branch manager Andrew Kearns said the amount of water available to farmers each year has a direct impact on the customers spending habits.
The branch has already seen the purse strings tighten from last year, said Mr Kearns who believes sales came to a near halt.
"If they get a good water allocation then they will start spending, but if not - which is the case right now - our customers pull back their budgets," he said.
"This time last year was very quiet and it slowed right down before dying off. Since then, it has been about making every opportunity a winner - giving finance options to attract customers during the very slow period of time."
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While he remains hopeful the weather will turn around, Mr Kearns said the forecast does not look the best.
"We will need a lot of rain in the dam so we can get our full allocations," he said.
"But (the bureau) are predicting a below average rainfall and the snow has not been the best that it could be. It probably will not get above 30 per cent at this rate - which has a major influence on how our sales will be."
Wagga councillor and Local Land Services representative Paul Funnell said he wants to see action on the amount of water available for farmers who are seeing no relief in sight.
"I understand that we are in a drought - and if water isn't available then it's not available," he said.
"It is absolutely mentally destroying for people who are watching water flow past their property, but cannot use any of it.
"People are being forced to leave their property and suicide rates are rising, but no one is taking about this."
Cr Funnell said the drought and water allocations not only have an affect on farmers, but the local businesses and the economy.
"The reduction of water will strip billions of dollars from our economy - and that is just in the Murrumbidgee," he said. "We need to see environmental water allocations converted back to add value for food production."
The next water allocation announcement will be made on July 15.
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