Rob Wettenhall is a second-generation farmer who bought his property in the Deniliquin area 13 years ago. The mixed grazing and cropping farmer has watched it decline as water has left the district and the community is pushed to its limits. He can remember when more than 120 seniors filled the Deniliquin tennis teams; in 2018 there are just 20. ‘‘I had 2400 sheep but I am down to about 1300 and hoping I can ride them out over summer.’’ Mr Wettenhall will cut some crop but that will be kept to feed to his sheep and get them through this year. ‘‘Water drives our businesses and our communities. In a good year I can employ seven to eight people on my place and I am spending money in the community. ‘‘This year I am in survival mode and the next lot of income I get will be when I sell my sheep. ‘‘The current zero allocation is a dagger in the hamstring of every single farmer in the community.
‘‘We should be encouraging and supporting growers and if we did, we wouldn’t have these terrible social and economic impacts we are experiencing now.’’