More catastrophic fish kills could be on the way unless the drought-stricken Murray-Darling Basin gets flushing rain before summer.
Federal Water Minister David Littleproud has echoed the NSW government's concerns about an impending "fish Armageddon".
"I hope we don't get to that point, but if it doesn't rain and we have to wait for another wet season, we could see a lot of trouble," he told reporters in Echuca on Monday.
Massive amounts of fish carcasses rotted in the Menindee Lakes last summer in a horrific ecological disaster.
As the drought continues to hit Australia's biggest river system, Mr Littleproud has warned rain is the only antidote as summer approaches.
"Fish don't do so well without water," he said.
"I've got to be honest with people, we've got to brace ourselves. There will be more fish deaths."
He also backed NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey's attacks on her state's Natural Resources Commission over a report into a water sharing plan.
The fish kills and water shortages in the state's west sparked the review.
"I know minister Pavey has put the foot on the throat to get it done," Mr Littleproud said.
"They're committed to getting the job done and if the bureaucrats are in the road then you need to give them a kick."
Mr Littleproud is on a three-day tour of the southern part of Australia's biggest river system with new interim inspector-general Mick Keelty.
He said Mr Keelty, a former Australian Federal Police commissioner, would be a tough, but fair, cop to weed out corruption across the basin.
The senior Nationals frontbencher said there was a large degree of frustration stemming from the lack of rain.
"I understand the pain this drought is causing. The only thing that's going to fix this is rain and a hell of a lot of it," he said.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young argues corporate irrigators in NSW were given too much water, pushing the system into drought.
"The National Party's head-in-the-sand attitude to climate change is a slap in the face to rural communities and farmers," she said.
After visiting the Barmah Choke, Mr Littleproud announced $5 million for a new system to show real-time data about what water is in the Murray-Darling Basin.
There's also $1 million for the Waterflow app which aims to help farmers access water market information.
He said farmers and water managers needed to have the best possible tools to guide them through the ongoing drought.
Australian Associated Press