What happens when the 'last resort' on the Darling River dries out?

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Mr Buckingham said in a Facebook post it was one of the most disgusting experiences of his life. "I felt so sick that I panicked and jumped in the river to escape it - as bad as it is!" he explained.

"The recent fish deaths in the Barwon-Darling river system at Menindee was a devastating sight".

Scientists argue mismanagement of the river system is to blame although the NSW government insists the ongoing drought is a key factor.

The minister has been savaged by some locals who claim water levels are low because of the amounts diverted to irrigators. The latest fish die-off, along with other signs of wildlife and human populations hard hit by drought and heat, add to the likelihood that water will feature in this year's coming federal and NSW state elections.

The NSW Labor leader, Michael Daley, called on Thursday for the Berejiklian government to establish a special commission of inquiry into the state's water management.

In a video that has been viewed almost 4 million times, Menindee resident Dick Arnold and rancher Rob McBride say the fish kills are "a manmade disaster".

Some experts to fear whole populations of local native fish have been wiped out.

Up to a million fish have died in a 40 kilometre stretch of the waterway at Menindee Lakes this week.

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The Menindee Lakes, which are about four times the size of Sydney Harbour, were drained twice in four years and are sitting at between 2.6 per cent and 4 per cent capacity, he said.

Arnold says members of the government "have to be bloody disgusted with yourself, politicians and cotton grower manipulators".

"Without inflows, blue-green algae events will continue to kill fish.and it should be remembered that irrigation farmers on the Upper Darling have not been allocated any water from the system for 18 months because of the drought".

"These huge Murray cods are about 80 years old, they've survived the drought and extreme weather - but the one thing they can't survive is this draining", she told AAP on Wednesday.

"In droughts, rivers are the last resort for so much of our wildlife", Professor Kingsford said.

Algal blooms, which can be caused by agricultural chemicals, have been blamed for the deaths, but locals say corruption and greed are the reasons. The fish kill in the Darling River that we have witnessed, that Dick and Rob have put on social media and is going viral is an absolute catastrophe.

"The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was established to improve the health of our rivers and floodplains and to avoid the types of ecological disaster we have witnessed with the Menindee fish deaths", Ms Slattery said.

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