National

Dams to drought-proof town water supplies

By AAP Newswire

Nationals leader Michael McCormack says dams and weirs could hold the key to shoring up crucial domestic water for regional Australia in the future.

Some NSW and Queensland towns are running out of water, with the situation critical across drought-ravaged parts of the nation.

Councils and state governments are rushing to put emergency measures in places, as their federal counterparts look at large-scale projects to ward off the devastating effects of the next big dry.

The deputy prime minister, who is in charge of infrastructure, insists projects like the Rookwood Weir and Emu Swamp Dam in Queensland aren't solely about farmers.

"They're all projects which are not just there for irrigation, they're also there for water supply," Mr McCormack told reporters on the Gold Coast on Tuesday.

He also nominated raising NSW's Wyangala Dam as a priority.

The Nationals leader promised a new $100 million national water grid during the election campaign.

While the full details of the new body are yet to be announced, Mr McCormack said it would provide a way of circumventing uncooperative state governments and take "petty politics" out of water infrastructure.

"Wherever I go, when I mention dams whether it's a metropolitan area they cheer, whether it's a regional area they do the same," he said.

"Where we can't reach common ground, the national water grid will certainly make sure we build those dams."

The grid has been framed as a statutory authority with government scientists guiding large-scale water diversion projects.

Mr McCormack will head to Dubbo on Thursday for The Daily Telegraph's bush summit, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will also attend.

Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie will be there along with Nationals Dubbo-based frontbencher Mark Coulton.