NSW government officials have faced a deluge of questions from frustrated residents in the state's far west concerned about the state of the Darling River.
More than a dozen residents attended a meeting in Pooncarie on Thursday held by the industry department and WaterNSW concerning the management of the river system.
Residents questioned the release of water from Menindee Lakes in 2017 with some suggesting the mass fish deaths this summer wouldn't have happened if the lakes were full.
"We had water but instead of allowing some to get to us on the Lower Darling to allow the fish to breathe you sent it out to South Australia," farmer Margaret Healy told the meeting.
"We wouldn't have this problem and we wouldn't have these fish kills if that water wasn't wasted."
Ms Healy accused the government of not listening to the people on the Lower Darling.
Pooncarie farmer Rachel Strachan called on the departments to do more for the far west.
"The northern irrigators were concerned the fish kills would impact their water allocations and were told that wasn't the case," she said at the meeting.
"So, the department has a lot it can do for us."
Mitch Isaac from the department's water division said any change to the operation of Menindee Lakes would come from the top levels of government.
He said the recent fish deaths had focused minds.
"If anything is going to prompt or force change, it will be what's happened this year," he said at the meeting.
The department's Michael Wrathall said managing the Menindee Lakes and the Murray-Darling system was "challenging" given how many people relied on the water.
"There's a whole lot of competing users," he told AAP after the meeting.
"We have had an unprecedented drought and haven't been getting the inflows. There's no silver bullet in the face of drought."