Floodwater in the Darling River is predicted to further swell up Menindee Lakes dam, now at 117 per cent capacity, potentially reaching the 10.7 metre level in coming weeks, the Western NSW Zone State Emergency Service spokesman David Rankine said.
Residents in townships along Menindee Lakes such as Tilpa, Wilcannia, Menindee, Pooncarie and those near the Burtundy weir, and downstream of the vast Wentworth Shire, have been warned early of the unfolding situation.
Floodwater currently stands at 10.2 metres, way below the highest peak of 10.47 metres recorded in the 1976 flood but the forecast is sat at 10.7 metres as water upstream the Darling River has yet to flow downstream to the low-lying towns.
Following the forecast, the SES has fielded 240 volunteers on rotating shifts in the far western zone since floodwater from the Darling River and Menindee Lake dam rose to 10.2 metres before Christmas.
The volunteers came from Sydney, South Coast, Central West, Central Coast, New England, and Northern Rivers.
So far, 20 families in low-lying townships have been evacuated to Broken Hill where they are provided free accommodation while those who remained on their properties are regularly checked for their safety and welfare, Mr Rankine said.
"We are planning our response for the 10.7 metres predicted water level because we are expecting that scenario will be more prudent," he said.
"Water NSW releases 75,000 megalitres daily and it's coming through the lakes and down into the towns.
"There is still plenty of water upstream that has gone through Wilcannia which is 150 kilometres upstream and we're seeing that water pass through."
Mr Rankine said Water NSW had made no plans to increase the 75,000 megalitres daily release but towns have to prepare for further water surges.
The SES volunteers are assisting low-lying towns in sandbagging their levees while SES volunteers continue the drop off of essential food, medicines and basic supplies to households inundated by floodwater.
Mr Rankine said the inflow to the Darling River system has mostly come from the flooding in the Central West and Orana towns last spring, while some of the water volumes flow onto the Lachlan River system, but the floodwater inundating the far west has come from the flooding events in Wellington, Dubbo, Moree, Gunnedah and Eugowra.
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