JUST seven millimetres of rain fell during January.Wagga is bone dry after 12 consecutive days of 30-degree temperatures and while there was little water falling, there was plenty being evaporated, with 385mm disappearing this month.Lake Albert is a poignant example of how the continued hot weather is affecting the Riverina. Starting the year at seriously low levels, the lake now resembles a small pond with dry, cracked banks and dead fish spread across what little water is left.According to Wagga City Council, fish have died because of a sudden fall in water levels and subsequent dissolved oxygen content in the remaining water due to blue-green algae.It has not rained since January 6 and just the seven millimetres of rain compared to the average of 40mm has resulted in this past month becoming one of the driest on record.However, the forecast for the first week of February is encouraging, with rain predicted for the rest of the week and farmers and gardeners crossing their fingers in hope.Council staff were at Lake Albert at the weekend cleaning up the dead fish after they started to appear on Friday. Staff were forced to wade through metres of thick mud before reaching the water, which then only reached their knees as they collected the fish.Wagga mayor Kerry Pascoe said staff were working to ensure the strong-smelling fish were quickly removed."I'd like to thank staff who gave up their weekend to help remove the fish in difficult conditions," he said."With weather expected to remain incredibly hot and no forecast of rain, it is expected that, unfortunately, this will continue to occur."The temperature averaged 35 degrees throughout January, more than three degrees above average and yet another reminder of how deep in drought the region is.