The Deputy NSW Premier John Barilaro has urged the Federal Government to overhaul the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to allow southern irrigators to access water now for the nation's food security.
Mr Barilaro in a statement to The Land said planned environmental flows should be foregone to allow growers in the nation's breadbasket in the Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys to access water for crops.
"Burrinjuck Dam is currently at 36.8 per cent capacity and Dartmouth at 42.9 per cent," he said. "These are our regional lifelines.
"But the local farmers in these areas have had zero general security water allocation for the past two years and a huge percentage of this water is reserved for environmental flows and will run out to the ocean.
"When this (corona) crisis abates, yes water should be returned to the environment in reasonable measure but now is the time to put the farmers and people of this nation first.
"An agricultural recovery of NSW can help lead the economic recovery of Australia. The farms of Australia will have the job opportunities for those in need and once again as a nation we must look to the west of the divide. Now is the time to unify as a Nation in adversity.
"I have called my Federal colleagues and made the case, put people first, use the precious water that we have in reserve to protect the food and national security of Australia, and do it now."
He said "we can no longer afford to be sending water down the Murray and out to the ocean. Every single drop must be saved and given to our farmers to create a crop this year."