A Climate Council report launched in Orange on Tuesday has found the Central West is facing a dangerous summer, with drought conditions continuing and more heatwaves forecast.
Author of the report Will Steffen said for the past three years Orange has failed to receive adequate winter rainfall, with higher than usual temperatures.
"Orange and Dubbo are currently facing severe water shortages and this summer is shaping up as a terrible trifecta of heatwaves, droughts and bushfires, with no reprieve for the Central West," Dr Steffen said.
The majority of Orange's water comes from the Suma Park and Spring Creek Dams, which currently sit at a combined level of 26.2 percent of storage capacity.
We can see the conditions changing out here. We have less rainfall, winters are getting drier, the surface water is no longer reliable and dams are drying up,Rob Lee
"The point we're making is that these are not normal weather patterns," he said.
The non-government organisation which produced the report is made up of climate experts from several fields, including a fire fighter, scientists and an energy systems specialists.
Dr Steffen said the report was drafted in an attempt to get accurate climate change information out to the public.
It was launched at sheep farmer Rob Lee's property, 45 minutes from Orange.
Mr Lee said he's been anxious about a changing climate for more than 15 years and has spent more than $100,000 installing troughs and pumps to deliver bore water to his livestock, as the dam water isn't reliable.
"We can see the conditions changing out here. We have less rainfall, winters are getting drier, the surface water is no longer reliable and dams are drying up," Mr Lee said.
"We have made a number of changes to our farming practices, but if climate change continues to accelerate, driving more drought conditions, it is going to be very hard to make a living as a farmer."
The report, Dangerous Summer: Escalating Bushfire, Heat and Drought Risk, found the current prolonged drought across eastern Australia is threatening crops for the third year in a row, and national summer crop production is forecast to fall by 20 percent in 2019/20.
"A long-term heating trend from the burning of coal, oil and gas is supercharging extreme weather events, putting Australian lives, our economy and our environment at risk," the report found.
According to the report, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, Sydney and Melbourne could experience 50°C summer days by the end of the century.
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