The current drought is severe in some regions but covers a smaller area than previous events

The current drought conditions are severe in some regions – particularly in NSW. Rainfall to the end of September 2018 in NSW is the 3rd lowest ever recorded at 190.9mm. Rainfall to date across Australia is as poor as any period in the last 20 years. However, the extent of rainfall deficiencies is currently smaller than in previous droughts.

Analysis of rainfall deficiencies for the first nine months of 2018 indicates that 49% of agricultural land in South-Eastern Australia (Queensland south of the Tropic of Capricorn, New South Wales and Victoria), is experiencing 1 in 20 year drought conditions, compared with 81% of agricultural land at the height of the 2002-03 drought (March 2002 – January 2003).